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Moustache flexes muscle - Cops and robbers: Police ordered to grow a twirl to catch a twirl

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By RASHEED KIDWAI in Bhopal
  • Published 11.07.04
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Bhopal, July 11: Grow a moustache to pluck out a moustache.

That’s the police mantra in Madhya Pradesh, where a thick growth on the upper lip means more money and authority for the force — and it’s official. So what if their clean-shaven counterparts are softly crying foul over the “discrimination”.

After the Jhabua district police chief announced Rs 33 a month of “moustache allowance” six months ago, his Morena counterpart is directing his men to sprout hair on the lip, ostensibly to out-intimidate dacoits in the dreaded Chambal region.

Rajesh Gupta, the Morena superintendent of police, is personally supervising the creation of an “elite force” of 50 men in his district to patrol the dacoit-infested area, the playground of legendary, mustachioed terrors Mansingh, Malkhan Singh and Nirbhay Gujar.

Known for his innovative measures, Gupta enjoys a love-hate relation with his men. Some disgruntled policemen had last week gone so far as to organise a yagna, seeking god’s intervention, to get him transferred out of the district.

Gupta’s “crime” was the punishing fitness regimen he instituted for all overweight members of his team.

But if he wants his men to shed the flab around their middle, he prefers their upper lips to bristle with hair so that they could be put on motorcycles to patrol sensitive pockets in the district. This, he said, would serve as a sort of psychological tactic against criminals.

The officer’s gameplan is to somehow dwarf the gun-wielding and moustache-sporting dacoits with “moustache warfare”.

A senior police official in Bhopal saw nothing wrong with Gupta’s “innovative” measure, saying the experiment could be replicated in other districts if it succeeded in Morena.

Jhabua superintendent of police Mayank Jain had announced an “incentive” to grow moustaches in his violence prone district because he believed it would make his command more respected.

The “incentive” ensured Rs 33 a month “moustache allowance”, with most of Jain’s men happily availing of the offer.

“They improve the personality. They acquire an aura of their own. They create a positive impression on the local people and get a lot of respect,” Jain said of the merits of growing a moustache.