The first woman Director General of Police (DGP), Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya passed away following an illness in Mumbai on August 26, 2019. A 1973 batch IPS officer, Kanchan Bhattacharya made history when she was appointed the DGP of Uttarakhand in the year 2004.
Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a Twitter post remembered Kanchan Bhattacharya.
Uttarakhand Police took to Twitter and expressed condolences remembering her. “We mourn the demise of one of our icons, the first lady DGP and second lady IPS officer of India, Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya. An officer with sterling qualities of head and heart, she had an illustrious career, adorned with many firsts and awards,” tweeted Uttarakhand Police handle.
A Story Beyond All The Odds
Born in Himachal Pradesh, Kanchan grew up in challenging circumstances when her family struggled to make ends meet. With her ambitious desire to join the Indian Police Service, she proved herself in a male-dominated profession time and again.
She was the only woman among 90 men during her training. Her instructors thought she would quit the service, however, setting an example for many, she took over as Additional Superintendent of Police a Malihabad, Lucknow.
Within one year of service, she caught 13 dacoits including Makhan Singh who was absconding for almost a decade.
Kanchan became India’s first DGP and the second woman IPS officer in the country after she completed her PG degree in English Literature from Indraprastha College (IP College), Delhi University.
Asked about her achievements as DGP, she said: “I think I have impacted the way the police see the public and vice-versa. I have always stood by the weak.”
As the Superintendent Of Police at the Crime Branch, Kanchan had investigated many high profile cases. As the first woman DGP of Uttarakhand, she bravely fought against the bias against women in the service. She encouraged women home guards to manage traffic in cities. She was appointed as first women Deputy General Inspector of Police in Uttar Pradesh after which she was promoted to the first women IG of UP Police.
She was presented a ceremonial guard of honour by the Uttarakhand police at her farewell parade.
In her 33 years of career span and handling various sensitive cases like Syed Modi murder case in 1987 and Reliance-Bombay Dyeing case, she was awarded President’s Medal for long and meritorious services in 1989. She was also awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Award in 2004 for excellent all-round performance and as an outstanding woman achiever.
In 1989, Kanchan’s sister, Kavita launched a very popular television serial called ‘Udaan’ based on Kanchan’s life and how she battled in a male-dominated profession.
She entered into politics after retirement and contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. She took Aam Aadmi Party’s ticket from Haridwar constituency.
The loss of such an inspirational and iconic Police Officer is irreparable. Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya, an officer with ‘sterling qualities of head and heart’ stands as an example for many officers in service and also those who aspire to become one.
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