BHUBANESWAR: The cold-blooded murder of 18-year-old youth at Press Chhak within Saheed Nagar police limits on Saturday has exposed the chinks in the armour of Capital city police. A rise in mobility allowance for cops, increase in manpower and establishment of new police stations notwithstanding, lapses in basic policing have led to deteriorating law and order situation in Bhubaneswar.
The youth, Niranjan Parida of Gadakana, was stabbed to death by four anti-socials at Press Chhak after he and his friends opposed the accused for passing comments at a girl known to them. The police have arrested two youths but the prime accused is still at large.
However, arrests have brought no solace to people with rising in violent crimes in the City. Incidence of murders, robbery and snatchings has jumped. On the other hand, patrolling has significantly reduced. Instead of night patrolling, inspectors leave for their residences in the night and return to their offices the next morning. Regular patrolling has been left at the mercy of PCR vans manned by home guards and one officer. Night checks and blockings that once were so effective have stopped which is a reason behind increasing crimes despite night curfew in place.
Interestingly, the State government enhanced mobility allowance provided to ASIs, SIs and inspectors from Rs 700 to Rs 1,050 per month in 2019. Mobility allowance of constables, sepoys, havildars and personnel in equivalent ranks was hiked from Rs 150 per month to Rs 300. It has not translated into effective policing though.
The lack of robust patrolling in the city has created an impression among the anti-socials that they can easily get away after committing a crime. With senior officers not taking the lead, the fear in the minds of criminals is ebbing.
“Are senior officers afraid of anti-socials or are they more interested in sophisticated policing? Greater visibility of officers could bring a great sense of security among people and fear in the minds of the criminals but that has been reserved only for a show when cops take out convoys which are just for media consumption,” said an insider.
To improve policing, police administration shifted focus to community policing and outreach programs in slums but this too has yielded little result in curbing crimes because the basic beat patrolling has weakened.
Another major issue has been political patronage to goondaism in the City and police have turned a blind eye to the problem which is mostly in slums.
Instead, it is busy dealing with such elements with kid gloves. Analysts say anti-socials have the patronage of politicians as the latter use them for political purposes which have given them more acquaintance with the officers.
What has worsened the situation is easy availability of liquor and drugs round-the-clock. There are several shops and points where such contraband is easily available. Jayadev Vihar, Cuttack Road, Railway Station and Old Bazar areas are notorious for such activities.
Despite human intelligence available, police stations have been sitting easy and a case in the point is the January 1 murder of 50-year-old Dipu Routray who was killed by anti-socials with sharp and blunt weapons within Airfield police limits. The man was targeted as he interfered to sort out an argument between members of two groups who had assembled on New Year’s eve despite the night curfew being in place. Had the police acted immediately after the group fight, Routray’s life could have been saved.