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Friday, March 26, 2010

Edition 13: A Daring and Cool-Headed Officer

The bomb blast in German Bakery has brought back the memories of attack in Mumbai on Nov. 26, 2009. However, the latter was a major attack, a trailor of the actual battle on the field. That attack is also associated with the martyrdom of three big policemen from Maharashtra namely Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamthe and Vijay Salaskar.
Ashok Kamte was born on February 23, 1965. He was the Additional Commissioner of Mumbai Police for the East Region on that fateful night. He was killed while fighting terrorists and his bravery was honoured with the Ashok Chakra on 26 January 2009.
Ashok's father was Colonel M. R. Kamthe (Retd.) who served the Indian Army. Ashok Kamthe attended The Rajkumar College, Rajkot then shifting to Kodaikanal International School for five years. He graduated from 12th grade in 1982. He had received an international scholarship at Camp Rising Sun in 1980. He completed his bachelor's degree from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, graduated in 1985 and then earned post graduate degree in Arts from St. Stephen's College, Delhi in 1985-87. He was also an accomplished athlete representing India at the junior power-lifting championship in Peru in 1978.
Career In
Police Department
In 1989, Kamthe joined the Maharashtra state police as an Indian Police Service officer. He became Assistant Superintendent of Police in Bhandara in 1991 and Superintendent of Police, Satara in 1994. He was Superintendent of Police, Thane rural in 1997 – 99. During 1999 – 2000, he was served in the United Nation's Peace Mission in Bosnia.
After returning to India, he first became deputy commissioner of police in Mumbai during 2000 to 2002. Later assignments followed as Superintendent of Police, Sangli in 2002-04; Superintendent of Police, Kolhapur in 2004-05; Commissioner of Police, Solapur in 2006 -08.
His stint everywhere was always appreciated by all. Many government medals and honours walked their way to him. These include Special Service Medal for anti-naxalite operations in 1995; UN Medal in 1999, Videsh Seva medal for UN service in same year; DG's insignia in 2004; Antarik Suraksha Padak for anti-naxalite operations in 2005 and Police medal in 2006.
Ashok Kamte was survived by his wife Vinita, two sons Rahul (15) and Arjun (8), his, mother, Prem and a sister, Sharmila.
The Daring Officer
Kamthe was known as daring, but an exceptionally cool headed officer. He was an excellent negotiator in crisis situations. It was this quality for which he was summoned late night on Nov. 26, 2008 to deal with terrorists holed up in Mumbai buildings.
Kamte was revered by ordinary citizens as he took on hardened criminals as well as politicians with criminal background. During Mumbai's occasional communal violence between Hindus and Muslims, the areas under his supervision remained largely free of riots. He was equally loved and respected by all communities. More than 2000 fans have set up a community in his honour on Orkut.
Nearly 3000 people turned up to pay their respects to Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamthe who was cremated in Pune with full state honours. Kamte was one of the most respected and admired officers of the Mumbai Police force. News of his death sent shock waves not just across Maharasthra but across South India, where he had served in Belgaum for a period.
Kamthe was killed in action by terrorists during the Mumbai attacks, on 26 November 2008 in a narrow lane between St. Xavier's College and the Rang Bhavan opposite Corporation Bank ATM just a stone away from Crime Branch office.
The body of Additional Police Commissioner Ashok Kamte, was cremated with State honours at the Vaikunth cremotorium on 27 November 2008. A large number of high-ranking police officers participated in the funeral procession, including: Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh, Joint Commissioner of Police Rajendra Sonawane and district collector Chandrakant Dalvi.

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