By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 23 Oct: 23 Oct: Recent crime incidents in Dehradun, Haridwar and even in the hills should cause a lot of concern to the Uttarakhand Police. Recent cases of robbery in Dehradun, the plot to assassinate Cabinet Minister Saurabh Bahuguna or frequent murders in US Nagar district are manifestations of the expanding mafia culture in Uttarakhand. Most organised crimes have their roots in land, mining or commercial disputes. Traditionally, Uttarakhand has been considered free of organised serious crime but of late, many incidents have shaken the state. These incidents include robbery, thefts, murders and rapes. Even cyber crimes have increased multiple times in past few years. These cyber crimes are unfortunately not limited to frauds against individuals by getting fraudulent access to OTPs and online transactions but include running fake call centres right here in Dehradun.
Traditionally, local intelligence was considered very important tool of feedback in respect of any suspicious activity going on in any particular city or town. This was an important part of basic policing for any district and state police. However, in recent years, the local intelligence network has weakened considerably leading to increased organised crimes. Senior Police Officers have also shown reluctance to move frequently in the field to monitor and keep an eye on the subordinates. As a result, police stations have turned into centres for striking deals between the complaining and the accused parties. Often the complainants are pressurised by the SHOs and Chowki in charge to reach a compromise with the accused parties, particularly when the accused parties are highly influential. Encroachments on government land, grabbing of others’ land are now order of the day, particularly in Dehradun, Haridwar, Udham Singh Nagar and Nainital districts. Illegal quarrying is rampant in most rivers and streams in Dehradun and yet the Police is hardly seen in action. From time to time, some trucks or trolleys are seized to project as if the Police are serious to curb illegal mining or quarrying, but even the seized trucks, tractor trolleys and pickup vehicles are later let off after due “negotiations”.
Traffic management is minimal as speeding vehicles on certain roads have caused several deaths in Dehradun and Udham Singh Nagar districts but the traffic police remains mainly focussed on levying penalties on vehicles often parked in roads with minimal traffic movement. Speaking to Garhwal Post, a senior Police officers admit that the traffic police officials and the CPU are given targets and therefore they pay more attention to checking documents and penalising wrongly parked vehicles rather then ensuring smooth traffic flow and checking speeding vehicles. He further admits that often the trucks used in illegal quarrying and mining are involved in serious road accidents, which is indicative of serious lapses on part of the Police.
Recent case in Doiwala where house of a cousin of Cabinet Minister Prem Chand Aggarwal was robbed by robbers from other state shows the local intelligence failure. While after strict warning by the CM and the DGP, the Dehradun Police claims to have solved the Doiwala robbery, and has arrested several accused including the chief accused Tehseem Qureshi whose Police remand has been sought by the Police, the fact remains that the robbery was well planned and was done after several rounds of recce. The chief accused is a well known civil contractor and had undertaken construction work in the house which he robbed in the past.
In past 7 days, there have been 8 major cases of theft in Dehradun and since the Police is failing to curb theft, the officials have been found not serious to register the cases. The state reported 1245 cases of crime against children, 534 cases of rape & 208 murders; the highest among the 9 Himalayan states according to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report for 2021. Rape, cases against children, promoting enmity were few highlighted categories! Overall policing needs an overhauling in the state and basic policing needs to be stressed upon by the top police officers.