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Kamte wanted to join the force that guards his killer

Kamte wanted to join the force that guards his killer

Author: Express News Service
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: March 12, 2009

Introduction: Frustrated after being made to release Medha Patkar, had sought transfer to ITBP

Seven years ago, when Ashok Kamte was the Deputy Commissioner of Police for Zone I, the area that was targeted in the November 26 terror attack, he had apparently decided, in a fit of frustration, to apply for a deputation to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) - the same paramilitary border force that has now· been approached by the Mumbai Police to guard his killer, Ajmal Kasab, in jail. But his colleagues, it is learnt, dissuaded him from taking what they thought was a "rather harsh decision".

A senior IPS officer said Kamte had made the decision soon after he had arrested social activist. Medha Patkar, national convener of the National Alliance of People's Movements. Patkar and 300 supporters were trying to march towards the Vidhan Bhavan in March 2001, during Kamte's tenure as zonal Deputy Commissioner.

A close friend of Kamte recalls that Kamte had to arrest the activist but was not getting any orders from his superiors. "The situation got tense in the region.

Eventually, after making many calls to his superiors and also to the Mantralaya and not getting a response, he went ahead with the arrest. Eventually when he called it a day, he started getting calls from his superiors to release the social activist," the IPS official says, addil1g, "He got tired of the system. That incident left a bad impression on him and he immediately started looking for options for a break and also a place where he could put his policing abilities without any undue pressure.

Kamte's wife, Vinita, did not wish to dwell on the incidents. "All I knew was that the wanted to prove himself and put his abilities to use," she said.

Many officials from the Maharashtra cadre aply to the BSF and central postings like the CBI, the RAW and the Intelligence Bureau, but hardly any ever apply to the ITBP. Among the border forces, the ITBP is known to be toughest because it involves extreme climate conditions; also, the porous border it has to guard in one of the most difficult geographical terrains.

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