A Fulbright scholar and winner of several literary awards, who also has a doctorate from an Indian Institute of Technology, has been named Assam’s new Director General of Police.Special DGP (Law and Order) Kuladhar Saikia, who will take over from Mukesh Sahay as the State’s police chief on May 1, had won the Sahitya Akademi award in 2015 for his book ‘Akakhor Sobi Aaru Anyanya Galpa (Picture of the Sky and Other Tales)’.But Mr. Saikia, an IPS officer of the 1985 batch, will not be the first DGP of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre to have won the Sahitya Akademi award. Current Meghalaya DGP Swaraj Bir Singh won the award in 2016 for his Punjabi play ‘Maseya di Raat (Moonless Night)’ and former Assam DGP Harekrishna Deka had won it in 1987 for ‘Aan Ejan (Another One)’, a collection of poems.He will not be the first DGP to have won the Katha award for literature either. Mr. Deka had won it in 1995, five years before he did.But Mr. Saikia will arguably be the first DGP in India to have earned the Sahitya Akademi award, Fulbright Humphrey fellowship (for community leadership) from University of Pennsylvania in 2000 and a PhD in crime and development from IIT-Guwahati.Mr. Saikia, 59, was among five senior IPS officers who were in contention for the DGP’s post after Mr. Sahay’s retirement on April 30. His resume weighed heavier than the others, a senior Home department officer said.Closely involved in anti-terror operationsMr. Saikia had been closely involved in anti-terror operations, including Operation Bajrang and Operation Rhino against the United Liberation Front of Asom in the 1990s. Much of his stint as superintendent of police was in militant hotbeds such as Nalbari and Kokrajar districts.But colleagues said Mr. Saikia’s came across as a humane officer even in the most critical of situations during “those terrible days”. This was manifest in Project Prahari, an awareness initiative he had undertaken in the early 2000s to tackle witchcraft-related crimes.His drive to curb witch-hunting in Assam as ‘an agent of change’ was recognised as a case study in the Harvard Business Review.Mr. Sakia has often turned his field experience into stories that have won awards and a sizeable readership. “Writing has helped improve my policing,” he says.