Birth: April 17, 1928, Nawalparasi
Death: May 19, 2021, Kathmandu
Khadgajeet Baral’s Nepal Police career was truly memorable. One of the first officers in the force with a postgraduate degree, Baral commanded Nepal Police for six years—when most police chiefs don’t get to serve out their four-year tenure due to age restrictions.
Baral, who got his MA from Patna University, India, joined the Mukti Sena (Liberation Army) that had launched an armed struggle against the Rana autocracy in Nepal in the latter half of the 1940s.
After the ouster of the Rana regime, many members of the Liberation Army joined Nepal Police. Baral too became an inspector in 1957 and climbed the ladder to reach the force’s top position after 14 years of service.
According to the then rules, an officer would be eligible for state pension only after completing 20 years in service. This meant that Baral, who was to complete his four-year tenure in office, would retire from service without pensions. Then King Birendra thought this would be unfair for a man who had served the country for such a long time, and added two more years to his tenure.
Until Baral became chief, police offices across the country didn’t have proper buildings. He started a campaign to change this and lobbied with the government to provide food and clothing allowance to police personnel.
Baral established the Nepal Police Mountaineering & Adventure Foundation whose trainees have climbed many Himalayan peaks such as Tukuche Himal (6921m) and Pabil Himal (7,104m), conquered in 1976 and 1978 respectively.
The credit for establishing the first border outpost in the country also goes to Baral. He did it back in 1968 when stationed in Nepalgunj as deputy inspector general. He then worked on a detailed protocol to establish over 30 BOPs across the country.
Baral was successful not just in Nepal. His diplomatic skills and acumen also helped the country in the international arena. It was during Baral’s tenure that Nepal Police obtained membership of INTERPOL. Following his time in the police force, he was appointed ambassador of Nepal to Myanmar (1980-86). He lobbied with the Myanmar government to provide citizenship to people of Nepali origin and establish scholarship programs for Nepali students. Baral also served as Nepal’s ambassador to Indonesia, Singapore, and French Indo-China (Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam).
Apart from his bureaucratic and diplomatic work, he played an instrumental role in promoting sports. He invited a judo trainer from Japan and a hockey trainer from Pakistan to promote the two sports in Nepal.
Even in his retired life, he was concerned about the welfare of Nepal Police, offering valuable inputs to generations of police officers.
He passed away peacefully at his Maharajgunj residence of natural causes on May 19. He was 93.