A Reminder Of  Prayagrajs Policing System : Looking At The Decade-Long Evolution Of Police Stations

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A Reminder Of Prayagraj's Policing System : Looking At The Decade-Long Evolution Of Police Stations

Police records written in Urdu language about cases from the 1900's continue to be preserved in many police stations of Prayagraj as a reminder of the policing system that evolved from the colonial to post independence era.

Prayagraj Police Stations have been setting examples with their track records and achieving many firsts in the country. Recently, the Prayagraj police forces made the headlines through their women officers who resolved over 500 family conflicts at the station level.

The policing system in one of the oldest cities has evolved from six stations to over 40 stations in 148 years. The system took different forms as Ilahabad grew and took its new form as Prayagraj. Here's looking back at one of the oldest police systems in the country and the records they continue to preserve.

Preserving Centuries Worth Records

In 1874, the Britishers established the Kotwali police station in the heart of the city as a form of a watchtower to gain better control of the city. This was a decision they had picked in response to the stiff resistance they faced from rebellious sepoys and locals under the leadership of Maulvi Liyaqat Ali. This was the first police station established in the city and was slowly followed by Colonelganj and others.

Over time, Britishers began bringing in new policing systems and acts to ensure they had complete control. The Police Act in 1861, prepared by Lord Macaulay, was implemented within these same lines of thought to suppress any revolt against the government. Under this Act, some sections enabled police officials to collect secret information, control crimes, and so on to maintain law and order.

Register number eight, which was used in Kotwali, continued to be used in the station even after centuries. Despite its poor condition, the police station has preserved it for a long time and keeps adding new pages to it every year. According to a report by the Hindustan Times, most of the cases filed under Register eight include those of gambling and theft.

Several interesting cases are lodged within these pages that reflect on the changing ways in which theft has been viewed within the policing system since 1874. Among the initial renowned cases of fraud registered after independence is one of Nanhku of Pratapgarh on the complaint of cycle company owner Ahmad. These records also reveal that until November 26, 1947, the cases were registered in Urdu language and slowly switched to the Hindi language.

Evolving With More Policing

Soon, the number of police stations grew from six primary stations to more than 40 in and around the city. In 1908, Shankargarh police station came about, after which followed the Civil Lines police station, Ghoorpur police station, Soraon police station of trans-Ganga, and many more as per the requirements of the British government. This fact is showcased within the Civil Lines police station (then known as Cannington police station) records, which indicate that the blueprint for the police station was prepared back in 1870 when the area was populated primarily by British officials and staff.

Then there's the Colonelganj police station, which was run in a residential complex in colonial times. The makeshift station witnessed the majority of the days of independence struggle as Anand Bhawan, Swaraj Bhawan, Allahabad University, and Chandra Shekhar Azad Park fell under its jurisdiction. A new building was constructed for policing only after independence, and it continues to maintain a crime register of over 100 years. They also hold the secret register, which maintained the names of localities from back then, their population, number of homes, along with information about revenue, market days, fairs, festivals, dominant caste, local leaders, and so on.

Also Read: Women In Command! Uttar Pradesh Welcomes Its First Woman Police Commissioner

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Writer : Laxmi Mohan Kumar
Editor : Jayali Wavhal
Creatives : Laxmi Mohan Kumar

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