KAKINADA: Once home to gangland killings, East Godavari district is now more or less peaceful but it is not yet completely out of the clutches of rowdy-sheeters who continue to rule the roost in some parts. Despite efforts to tame the rowdy elements, they continue to give a tough time to the police, refusing to reform themselves.
After taking over as Superintendent of Police, Vishal Gunni has set his sights on reining in rowdy elements in the district. He began summoning them for counselling where the police try to reform them. They tell the history-sheeters the advantages of being a good citizen and at the same time, lace their advice with warnings that they would have to face the music if they continue to defy the law.
There are about 450 history-sheeters in four police sub-divisions of Kakinada, Peddapuram, Amalapuram, Rampachodavaram and Chintoor. Though prosperous and quiet, East Godavari district, particularly Kakinada, is not a stranger to violence. Prior to 2007, rivalry among truck union operators had spilt blood on the roads. In July 2007, Vegulla Sivababu, 47, leader of a truck operators’ union was done to death in broad day light on the premises of the court in the city. This was in retaliation to the murder of another union leader Abbu Choudary that took place four years earlier and another truck operator a few months earlier.
The police had arrested seven persons in connection with the murder of Sivababu. As gangland murders were taking place with disturbing frequency, the then SP Battina Srinivas cracked the whip on rowdy elements and ever since, the crime graph has come down. Now the incumbent SP Vishal Gunni is very clear in his approach. As Kakinada is a fast growing city on account of the government’s focus on developing it into an industrial hub, the SP, who has assumed charge recently, is trying to rid the district of the elements that might resurrect the long-forgotten Kakinada’s narrative of violence and gore.
Said Vishal Gunni: “I am asking the rowdy elements to undergo counselling as I want them to reform themselves. Immediately after taking over, I have given the history-sheeters a warning that they should behave themselves. They have been asked to report to the police station every Sunday and explain to the officer what they had been doing the previous week. This would act as a deterrent because the history-sheeters would know that the police were watching them. We have taken their mobile phone and Aadhaar numbers, just in case they get involved in crimes.” His dire warnings to the criminal elements have gone viral with some of his youtube videos gaining as many as 2.8 lakh views.