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Tanu Shree: UPSC Triumphs, Women Empowerment, and ‘Zero Ground for Drugs’ – A Tale of Leadership in Kashmir

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By: Nahida Mushtaq

In the labyrinth of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam, where aspirations meet challenges, one remarkable story stands out—the journey of IPS Tanu Shree. Her narrative is a testament to determination, resilience, and success in a male-dominated realm, and it goes beyond professional achievements, delving into the critical issue of drug abuse in Kashmir.

Tanu Shree embarked on her journey in 2016, taking on the UPSC exams with unwavering dedication. Her success saw her join the Indian Police Service (IPS) cadre in 2017, marking the initiation of an extraordinary career. What distinguishes her isn’t just her professional triumphs but the delicate balance she maintained between household duties and career aspirations, even after marrying in 2015.

Hailing from Bihar, Tanu Shree’s educational voyage mirrored her father’s postings, leading her through various institutions. Completing her Class 12 at DAV Public School in Bokaro, she later moved to Delhi for UPSC preparations. Her elder sister, Manu Shree, a CRPF commandant, played a pivotal role in guiding and motivating her throughout this challenging journey.The transition from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to the Income Tax Department and eventually securing the coveted position of an IPS officer underscores Tanu Shree’s commitment, diligence, and the unwavering support of her family.

Her father, a former Deputy Inspector General (DIG), and her sister, a CRPF commandant, set examples that fuelled her motivation.Today, Tanu Shree stands as the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in Shopian, Kashmir.”The peace in Kashmir since 2019 has opened up opportunities for girls to pursue their careers, and many are taking advantage of this conducive environment,” in an interview with a local newspaper, she sheds light on her experiences working in a traditionally male-dominated field.

Acknowledging the challenges, she expresses gratitude for the opportunities she received to prove herself.Amidst the backdrop of a changing Kashmir,Tanu Shree highlights the evolving role of women. She emphasises the boldness and success of girls in various fields, breaking stereotypes in sports and education. “In the male-dominated police force, I’ve been fortunate to be given opportunities to prove myself, and I’ve enjoyed my work thoroughly in Kashmir for almost five years.”Her optimism for the future is palpable, anticipating a significant shift in the coming years as more opportunities open up for both girls and boys.

Addressing cultural restrictions, Tanu Shree emphasises the need for equal care and opportunities for females. She dismisses the notion that cultural norms should be a hurdle, suggesting they can be supportive of one’s dreams. Citing examples of national-level female cricket players wearing hijab, she challenges the perception that cultural norms hinder progress.In a heartfelt message to aspiring girls, Tanu Shree urges them to trust themselves, pursue their dreams with dedication, and disregard societal judgments. Her journey and advice serve as a powerful reminder that gender should never be a barrier to achieving one’s goals.

Beyond breaking gender barriers, Tanu Shree discusses the critical issue of drug abuse in Kashmir. As the SSP in Shopian, she emphasises the importance of collective efforts to combat this social evil, harbouring a vision of ‘Zero Ground for Drugs.’ Her call for public involvement in reporting and addressing drug-related concerns showcases her commitment to creating a safer and healthier society.In her role as a guardian of law and order, Tanu Shree recognizes the intricate nature of the drug problem. She understands that addressing the issue requires a dual approach focusing on both the supply and demand sides. The youth, especially those aged eighteen to twenty-eight, are identified as the most vulnerable demographic.

As Tanu Shree emphasises the need for de-addiction programs and awareness campaigns, she extends an invitation to society to participate actively. Her perspective recognizes drug abuse as a social crime, requiring collective responsibility. In urban areas like Srinagar, she notes the presence of girls in de-addiction centres, emphasising the inclusive nature of the battle against drugs.”Despite the nationwide issue of drug abuse, I’ve observed that girls in Kashmir, both rural and urban, are bold and have their dreams. It’s about opportunities and family support.”

In Tanu Shree’s view, the fight against drugs is not confined to law enforcement agencies alone. Society must actively engage in helping and informing about these issues. Her plea to the public is poignant—don’t hesitate to inform, considering it a social service rather than merely being labelled an informer. Tanu Shree is acutely aware that drug-related problems can seep into homes through unsuspecting youngsters.

As she points out, the allure of drugs often begins with friendships, making it imperative for families to scrutinise their homes and neighbourhoods. The battle against drugs requires proactive participation from the community, with everyone recognizing the potential threat lurking in their midst.Tanu Shree’s dedication extends beyond her professional role; it encompasses a broader commitment to societal well-being.

Her vision of ‘Zero Ground for Drugs’ is not merely a slogan but a call to action. It reflects an understanding that addressing drug abuse requires a multi-faceted strategy, involving law enforcement, public awareness, and community engagement.Tanu Shree’s story transcends the narrative of an individual breaking barriers; it evolves into a saga of societal change. Her journey, from a determined UPSC aspirant to an accomplished IPS officer, exemplifies the triumph of resilience and dedication. “Trust yourself, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Be honest, dedicated, and believe in yourself. Girls can achieve anything they set their minds to,” she adds. Moreover, her commitment to eradicating the menace of drugs from society showcases a leader who goes beyond traditional law enforcement roles, actively contributing to the betterment of the community.As we reflect on Tanu Shree’s journey, we find inspiration not just in her achievements but in her holistic approach to societal challenges.

Her tale resonates as a call to action for individuals to defy stereotypes, pursue their dreams, and actively participate in creating a safer and healthier society. Tanu Shree’s narrative is a reminder that true leaders don’t just break barriers; they work tirelessly to make the world a better place for everyone.”In the fight against drugs, we’re targeting both the supply and demand sides. Youth aged eighteen to twenty-eight are vulnerable, and public involvement is crucial in addressing this social crime,” She opines.

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