By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 2 Aug: Not long ago, Dehradun was among the most crime free and peaceful cities in the country despite becoming the state capital of Uttarakhand. However, the situation is rapidly changing for the worse. Not just petty and major crimes are increasing, but also road accidents. Theft and home break-ins have risen sharply in the past year and more. Such crimes are now happening regularly even in colonies where theft was always rare. In fact, a few recent cases are shocking. Yesterday, thieves broke into the house of a Vigilance Inspector in Raipur, indicating the contempt the criminals have for the Police. Another shocking incident was the sensational daylight robbery at a jewellery shop in Saraswati Vihar in Ajabpur some days ago. Even after this event, there were reports of housebreaks and theft, including that of vehicles in the same colony, which indicates the Dehradun Police have neither been able to keep a proper tab on the crimes nor been able to instil any kind of fear among the criminals. Not only this, criminals have taken to stealing wheels of cars parked outside residences in places like Race Course and Nehru Colony for days together, clearly indicating that night patrolling is not being done earnestly.
In fact, just a month ago, DG (Law & Order) Ashok Kumar had to issue an ultimatum to the IG, Garhwal, and SSP, Dehradun, to ensure that crimes cases were solved within seven days. He had also expressed his unhappiness with the poor patrolling done by the Police teams in the city. It may be recalled that it was with much fanfare that City Patrol Units (CPU) were established at the initiative of the then DGP, BS Siddhu. These CPUs were equipped with special gadgets and were supposed to patrol the cities and surrounding areas to keep a tab on unlawful and unusual activities and also help the traffic police in case of traffic jams, etc. However, the CPUs have a very disappointing record in discharge of their assigned duties.They have reduced themselves to parking in areas near major crossings and even in residential colonies and harassing young riders. They can be seen harassing young men or boys and girls every single day, even during the peak traffic hours, rarely ever helping in managing smooth flow of traffic. In many spots which have heavy movement on a regular basis, often one can see just a single police constable or even a lone home-guard manning the traffic. Many locals have in fact started referring to the CPU teams as Vasooli cops. It has to be stressed that it has never been the responsibility of the Police to earn revenue for the state government. Ironically, while the CPUs continue to harass younger people, they hardly ever act against the dumpers passing through the city or entering the city during the day, during the forbidden hours. As a result, there were at least 32 recorded cases of major accidents by speeding dumpers within the city limits in past two months. Sources in the Police admit that dumpers are illegally allowed to enter the city by bribing the police.
Not only this, sources claim that the Police officers stationed in the Police Stations or chowkis in Dehradun have special interest in settling property disputes, which is basically a civil offence to be dealt with by courts. They show similar interest in settling personal disputes instead of registering the crimes by calling, both, the complainants and those against whom the complaints have been filed. Most of the theft cases, unless it is a major incident, are not even registered, claim the sources, but the Police just prefer to receive a complaint on a plain paper without registering an FIR or assigning an FIR number to the complaint in order to manipulate the crime rate. This is a regular feature in case of mobile theft. No FIR, just a complaint on plain paper is received and a copy stamped so that the complainant can get a fresh sim card against the loss of the phone. Unless the complainants themselves pursue the case with the Office of the SSP, no effort is made to send the complaints to that office so that phones can be traced by putting them on surveillance.
In fact, a very senior IPS Officer posted at the State Police Headquarters admitted to this correspondent that many senior officers posted in Dehradun had the blessing and trust of the higher-ups in the government and they often ignored directions given to them by him or other senior Police Officers from the State Police Headquarters, which made it quite difficult to handle these subordinate police officers. Political connections were deciding the postings even in cases of many lower ranked police officers including Inspectors and Sub Inspectors, he claimed.