Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya, India’s first woman Director General of Police (DGP), passed away following an illness in Mumbai late Monday night. Bhattacharya, a 1973 batch officer, made history in 2004 when she was appointed as the DGP of Uttarakhand, thus becoming the first woman in the country to hold such position.
Bhattacharya was also the second woman IPS officer in the country, the first being Kiran Bedi. She relinquished her duties on October 31, 2007. She was presented a ceremonial guard of honour by the Uttarakhand police at her farewell parade.
Hailing from Amritsar in Punjab, Bhattacharya was determined to become a police officer. As the first woman DGP of a state, Kanchan tried to fight the bias against women and it was due to her initiative that women home guards were given the responsibility of manning traffic points in cities. 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.”
Later, her struggle was immortalised on the small screen by her younger sister Kavita Chaudhary, who made the serial Udaan. Bhattacharya also made an appearance in the show.
After her retirement, she took a plunge into politics and unsuccessfully contested from Haridwar constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls on an Aam Aadmi Party ticket.
In a statement issued, the IPS Association mourned her demise. “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,” the Association said.