After the High Court had rapped the Puducherry government on the collapse of rule of law, the government is facing an uphill task to address the issue of lawlessness in the Union Territory.
As an immediate step, Chief Minister N Rangasamy on Saturday convened a meeting with Deputy Inspector General of Police I D Shukla, Senior Superintendents of Police, Superintendents of Police and Inspectors to correct the situation. Thereafter the SPs also convened a meeting with inspectors and sub-inspectors.
Though the discussions have been kept confidential, the government will have to address a lot of issues to set things right.
According to a senior government official, the government will have to revitalise the ‘crippled’ police force and give a free hand to them to deal with law breakers without bias or favouritism to detain anti-social elements under the Puducherry Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act,commonly known as Goondas Act, by granting approval and prevent criminals from operating from prison.
A former senior police official said the rowdy culture has been growing as the police are not able to take independent decision and take action against them.
One such case was that of notorious rowdy Velayudham, who was hacked to death by another rowdy Nondi Arumugham in front of the Chief Minister’s house. Both the accused and the victim are supporters of the ruling All India NR Congress, but the accused is roaming free. Though the police had recommended Arumugham’s detention under Goondas Act, it was withdrawn.
Lack of stringent action had emboldened the anti-social elements. It is shocking that these anti-socials are not even sparing the policemen.
Around two weeks ago, a sub inspector of a police station in the town was beaten up by a rowdy element in Anna Salai in full public view. But he had gone scot free with no case having been registered against him, the reason being that the offender is the son of an ex-MLA close to the ruling party and it was dismissed as a minor incident.
Such incidents over the years had led to demoralisation of the police force which is unable to take action as per the provisions of the law.
Those booked had come out on bail as they were booked under weak provisions of the law as well as public prosecutors were not defending the case put up in court properly, charged Leader of Opposition V Vaithilingam.
Extortions, mamools had gradually become the order of the day. Now, the rowdies have earmarked areas for them and each area is under the control of a rowdy, said a retired police official. Any overlap in this results in gang war and killing, he added.
Though in the past three years, the District Magistrate had issued detention orders under Goondas Act against 25 rowdies, only three were given approval by the government and in the remaining cases, the detention order lapsed. The files for approval never reached the Lieutenant Governor, sources in the government said.
In 2012, the District Magistrate had issued detention order for 13, but the government approved the detention of only Sankar alias Monthai Sankar. But he got relief from the High court.
Now after the hue and cry made by the traders associations, the detention orders had been issued for six out of 17 recommended by the police. But even a week after the orders were given, the government hasn’t given the approval yet.