With the posting of Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Su. Arunachalam at the refugee camp, Mandapam, this arid district, decried as ‘thanni illa kaadu’ (waterless jungle) and dubbed as the choicest destination for ‘punishment postings,’ has got its third IPF officer.

While other districts in the State, excluding police commissionerates, have only one or two IPS officers serving as Deputy Inspector General of Police and Superintendent of Police, Ramanathapuram has three IPS officers – Omprakash Meena as SP, Mr. Arunachalam as Special Officer, Mandapam Refugee Camp, and N. Kamini as DIG of Ramanathapuram Range that includes Sivaganga district as well.

Mr. Arunachalam became the third officer in the rank of ADGP to be posted in the refugee camp after A.X. Alexander and S. Jaffar Sait. The Special Officer post in the camp was first created in 2001 to shift Mr. Alexander out of Chennai, soon after the AIADMK came to power.

Since then, senior police officers, who fall out with the government of the day, are posted here. Both the AIADMK and the DMK governments have been shunting police officers, who rubbed senior politicians on the wrong side, to Mandapam.

After Mr. Alexander, Shyam Sundar (IG), Christopher Nelson (IG), Sarabjit Singh (IG) and Jaffer Sait (ADGP) served in the camp during different periods. Mr. Sait, who had a running feud with the AIADMK government, served for the longest period – more than six years – before being posted as Project Officer, Tamil Nadu Police Academy, in June, 2017.

Preferring anonymity, a senior police officer said it was very unfortunate that Mr. Arunachalam had been posted in the camp, which was manned by an Inspector. The ADGP had no official quarters, office room or vehicle. Mr. Arunachalam was presently staying in the travellers’ bungalow, sources said.

Senior officials confided that there was also no need for the DIG post in the district when the post of IG (Law and Order) South Zone had been created in Madurai for better policing of the caste-sensitive southern districts. The DIG post was created during the British period when Ramanathapuram was a composite district, comprising Sivaganga and Virudhunagar.

After the retirement of the then DIG S. Baskaran in April 2013, the post remained vacant for more than three years and policing remained unaffected in the two districts. After the transfer of Kapil Saratkar in August, 2017 too, the post remained vacant for more than six months.

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