Crimes in Delhi Either High Alert Or No Alert
“I feel torn apart shuttling between home and my workplace. Every day, I have to grapple with situations like stalking and molestation and each day I reach home with a new nightmare loaded with filthy and lewd remarks, though I have become used to this common feature in Delhi, what happened last week’s night was awfully scary. After a long wait for the bus bound for my home in east Delhi, I had to hire an auto rickshaw after a long struggle of haggling the fare. It was already past 10. Hardly had I reached the Ashram Chowk when an SUV, white scorpion, Mahindra appeared and started trailing the auto, at one point it literally brushed past the auto, I could not see who they were till one of those three rolled down the window and offered to drop me home, I just overlooked the gaze. After a while the same man sitting next to the driver, asked me extending the beer can to me if I would want to share beer with them. I tried to ignore but their lewd and obscene remarks still followed me. At last, they waylaid my auto near Akshardham and literally started hurling abuses, I, for a moment, could not understand. I was close to breaking down but then somehow I mustered the courage and rang the PCR, and before the police could reach, they fled the scene. I dread Delhi, my own city, it scares that it’s a difficult city to live in, is a common refrain.” This is a horrific tale of Divya (name changed).
In this background the question arises: How safe is the national capital? This very thought haunts many Delhiites irrespective of who’s who, but the most vulnerable are the women and senior citizens of the city. Delhi police chief BK Gupta promises their safety as the first priorty but it cuts no ice. Criminals are on the prowl challenging the law and order, khaki colour it seems is going off colour. The city is running terribly short of patience. Zero tolerence triggers cases like road rage and the like. Crime is orchestrated at the slightest provocation; Diiliwallahs fly into a rage in no time. In such a situation Delhi Police seem in dire straits to cop the city.
If we leaf through a few pages behind we feel the pulse of the city’s crime rate that hogged the limelight and cases like Dhaula Kuan rape case and Shobhit Modi murder case that hit the headlines of many national dailies. Delhi seems somewhat a lawless city, criminals at will come, loot, shoot brazenly and stroll away cocking a snook at the most proud security agency of the capital.
The police, though not miserably, failed to curb crime, it has worked out a good number of cases on the hand. The police machinery is quick to follow a tip-off from its sources and develops the leads with the help of its effective technical surveillance and human intelligence, also in the recent past Special Cell and Crime Branch of Delhi Police have neutralised many gangs and nabbed dreaded criminals. Despite all this, an insight into the the city, shows a rise. Women think twice before venturing out after dark as they are considered to be a soft target.
POLICE COMMISSIONER JUGGLES WITH STATISTICS
Addressing the press media, city police chief patted himself on the back to feel as proud as Julius Caesar. He read out a tall list of his achievements, he sang paeans to his team. On the contrary, Delhiites are living under the blanket of constant panic.
Good home work on expected questions
The Commissioner BK Gupta knows perfectly well as to how the media should be handled, greatly assisted by PRO of Delhi Police DCP Rajan Bhagat, who equally knows whom to invite to the conference and what questions to field before the Police Commissioner. At the half yearly police press conference recently, the chief displayed his acumen, while addressing the pressmen. He smartly answered the questions with finesse. He took those questions only which he wanted to reply to and the rest he parried in the same breath. He seemed to have done his homework well. The questions raised by the journos were about the Shobhit murder case, the High Court blast, Baba Ramdev etc. When asked if the police are going to shut the Shobhit murder case as ‘blind’ as so far there has been no breakthrough. And despite the fact, in these two months, dozens of police teams have been deployed to probe this case and around 5000 in this connection whatsoever have already been rounded up, detained, interrogated and finally sent home, “we will soon make headway; we have roped in the Crime Branch team. Different teams have been working round the clock. We’ll smoke ‘em out soon!” a confident and exuberant Gupta said.
STEPS TO CURB THE CRIME RATE IN DELHI
A close watch on SHOs
Delhi Police are pulling up their socks to revamp themselves; they are going to keep a vigil to do the appraisal of Station House Officers (SHOs) of each police station. Delhi Police have prepared a performance report, which contains remarks from deputy commissioner of police of the district concerned, joint commissioner of police, heading the range and commissioner of police. If a station house officer fails to perform his or her duties for five months, action would be taken against him. Delhi Police have also given direction to SHOs to concentrate on nabbing proclaimed offenders (POs) as they are the ones who commit a crime after coming out of JC (judicial custody).
Security, I think, is going to be an unending debate when it comes to talking of policing in Delhi. I do not see any chinks in the police machinery but yes co-ordination and connectivity are more important elements that are missing, the divide between the first unit of the police force, people and the head of the police family is still wide. Model police station may be an eyewash as you say but model policing should be brought into force so as to restore faith in the system. Small voice cannot reach big ears on the contrary big ears should reach the small voice.
Kiran Bedi, IPS
Encounters alone cannot check the crime rat, proper and effective policing plays a significant role as a whole. Why should the police kill an innocent? Errant officer irrespective of who’s who should be put under the microscope. The guilty must be taken for task, should get their just desserts! Cyber crime is posing a threat but then we frequently keep an eye on such activities. Airports are the most sensitive point to handle, round the clock security check and keeping a vigil. We regularly carry out a check on the hotels and guest houses near the airport.
Deepak Mishra, Special Commissioner of Police (Operations)
Community- based policing is a must. Proper co-ordination and discussing of day-to-day grievances not only at the thana level and with ACPc sub-divisions but also with the aam aadmi should be established. Regular meetings with RWAs and MWAs are vital. We keep tabs on BCs and POs. To check crime in Delhi proper and thorough verification of tenants, servants and drivers should be taken on a serious note. I believe people-friendly policing can work wonders.
Ajay Chaudhary, Additional Commissioner of Police
As far as crime is concerned it’s more or less the same everywhere but yes nature varies due to certain factors, like the density of population and mindset of the people inhabiting the area, more importantly the neighboring states hugging the periphery of the district you actually man. We need to study the topography. I have already served here for a year and a half and I know the entire geography of this area like the back of my hand. South district has always done well in detection of crime. Well, Outer District has problems like land grabbing that may at times trigger heinous crimes like murder. There were a couple of gangs in my book which we stamped out, here in south, citizens are not as raw, they come to us and discuss their problems, we are accessible to redressing their problems, we are open 24×7.
Chhaya Sharma, DCP, South Delhi
Human intelligence and technical surveillance not only help us crack the case but also foil such an attempt. Frisking, combing operation and barricade checking must be carried out effectively and that too all throughout the year, and we want people to bear with us for that, assist us rather than join the fracas of inconvenience due to traffic snarls and other like things. Influx of lakhs of people into the capital city for work adds to the already swelling population that more or less leads to criminal activities. There’s no organised crime syndicate in Delhi. We have caught a number of gangs of late. Police encounter can check the crime to an extent as the terror haunts the psyche of the criminals more often than not.
Ashok Chand, DCP, Crime Branch
BCs and POs in check
District-wise, the police are keeping a track record of bad characters and proclaimed offenders. BK Gupta said, “Around 350 missing bad characters who may have otherwise gone silent were traced back this year as against 50 last year. Externs will also be dealt with sternly as we are all set to trace them even from outside the boundary.”
Cracking the whip on proclaimed offenders, the Delhi Police have ordered revival of sustained police action under Section 174 (a) of the Indian Penal Code. The Section states that any proclaimed offender (PO) who does not respond to court hearings can face imprisonment up to for seven years.
“There has been 117 per cent increase in arresting POs this year whereas, 1057 were arrested in 2010, the figure rose to 2,298 this year, nevertheless, we have set a target of arresting 4,000 proclaimed offenders by the end of this year.”
We have ensured that inspectors of all police stations prepare a list of proclaimed offenders in the area and submit timely reports to their respective DCPs,’ Gupta added further.
LIST OF MODEL POLICE STATIONS
District Name of Police Station
North Subzi Mandi
North-West Subhash Place
Outer South Rohini
Central Jama Masjid
New Delhi Tilak Marg
South Malviya Nagar
South-East Greater Kailash
South-West Dwarka Sector-23
West Tilak Nagar
RAPE CASES IN 2011
258 Is the number of rape cases reported till June 30 this year
289 Was the number of rape cases in the corresponding period last year
3.09 Is the number of rape per one lakh population in Delhi
CRIME 2010 2011
Dacoity 17 20
Murder 278 271
Attempt to Murder 169 187
Robbery 318 308
Riot 30 31
Kidnapping 11 7
Rape 289 258
HEINOUS CRIME PLUMMETS
As per the statistical display, beyond an iota of doubt the crime rate in Delhi has tilted downward as compared to the previous year’s figure. According to the city police chief BK Gupta, heinous crimes have recorded a 2.7 per cent decrease. The crime per lakh population has decreased from last year’s rate of 313.6 to 311.23 this year. The Delhi Police have introduced 155 emergency response vehicles to respond to distress calls and keep a watch on the scene of crime.
“See, we talk on papers, it may be a perception of one individual. Speaking of crime rate, it’s come down though not steeply. Yes, heinous crime is in check. Petty or street crimes may be, on the other side, up by a couple of cases. They are first timers, recidivists fall into the police dragnet and of course, we keep tabs on those lately out of Judicial Custody (JC), local Bad Characters (BCs) and Proclaimed Offenders (POs). With regard to woman-related crimes and grievances, we are open to handling queries 24×7 and we react immediately”, Rajan Bhagat said.
MODEL POLICE STATION IN EACH DISTRICT
Within a month, one police station in each of the 11 police districts in Delhi will be developed as a model police station. These people-friendly police stations will be equipped with improved infrastructure facilities for visitors and policemen; there will be effective complaints-redressal and feedback mechanism. “This will aim at community policing, speedy disposal of cases and case properties and time-bound disposal of complaints. Field policing and beat patrolling by women will be focussed on.
“The police stations have strictly been instructed not to hesitate to lodge an FIR on the basis of which we can get to the actual rate and also the number of cases placed on record. I am of the opinion that crime can be handled best when FIRs are lodged for every single untoward incident and arrests thereupon so as to avoid any argument,” Bhagat informed.
According to Gupta, the police are also focussing on the safety of senior citizens living alone in the city. Police have registered a total of 11,774 senior citizens with 3,027 added this year to keep a strict vigilance on their protection. About 100 senior citizens are contacted on telephone daily by the Senior Citizen Security Cell. At least 25 of them are visited daily by a police team, including regular visits by the area SHO and the ACP sub-division.
SLUT WALK BROADCAST
“Mind your lecherous eyes not the couture we tog up. Let the world know we do not dress for them,” these words were candidly spoken by Garima, one of those voices that were loudly audible at the Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. There were hundreds others like Garima who pitched there battles against sexual violence. After the gay gait, Anna’s agitation and now slut strutting, at the same poor Jantar Mantar, the epicentre of all walks and sit-ins, nudged the attention through their march and nukkad (street plays) to let the city know that they too will come to the street and voice against sexual violence and molestation.
“It’s my micro mini; you have got nothing to do with it,” said Ritika who joined the bandwagon braving the sunny Sunday’s muggy weather. “Who are you to decide what we should wear and what not? You just mind your stuff,” she mused. Delhi, where woman- related crimes have ever been on the rise; headlines like Dhaula Kuan rape, some Northeastern was sexually assaulted, gym-raping and very lately a girl was picked on the way to her home after work painted the police in black.
“Delhi will take years and years to be civilised, it’s not a cultured city people here are desperately frustrated, the city is brutally ostentatious and truly ego inflated. Maybe, they are not well groomed and exposed that’s why they litter filth particularly when they are drunk. They cannot hold their drink but they must do to show off. Then they go zipping around the city to massage their ego by lifting and stuffing some hapless girl into their car thinking their birthright to molest one going her way. Can’t we just walk freely on Delhi roads?” asked Geeta, an LLB student.
The march with hundreds of placards with loud messages kicked off from Free Church to Jantar Mantar through YMCA Jai Singh Road. Though the turnout was low fearing harassment, they displayed the message in the right form, they are not going to sit duck. “We went to many places and also got response through Facebook, we’ll make it,” said Mishika Singh, organiser of Delhi SlutWalk. The walk was well supported by social activist and ex Miss India, Nafisa Ali.
“Even if you wear salwar kameez or jeans you cannot get away from being teased or assaulted, the point is just live and let live. Why get after what we wear, how we walk, how we talk, where we go,” Shalu, a student, said with a promise to return next year.
“I hope that people who have come for the walk don’t forget the larger point that we are making here, that is against sexual violence, after they go back home,” Umang Sabharwal, the young DU student who spearheaded the walk.
“It’s about time men came out of their cramped cocoon and changed their mentality, there is nothing wrong about women wearing skimp togs.” Vinod Kumar Sukhija, a professor averred. (SWA)
Keeping women safety in view, the Police Commissioner said, “safety of women is our first priority, we have opened Centric Police Stations on North and South campuses, predominantly staffed by women.”
“Visibility and vigilance may be better. However, there are certain chinks in the whole police machinery. Still, you cannot expect a miracle from them. It’s getting tough for people like us to live in Delhi. Here, people fly off the handle about a stupid reason. They are hell bent upon killing one another, really, a city of zero tolerance,” Jasmeet Kaur, a housewife, moaned.
On the one hand, UP and Haryana based criminals hop across the border, reccee the target, commit a crime and then go into hiding. On the other hand, those wanted in other states use Delhi as a hideout. After executing the plan, they hibernate and remain silent to evade arrest. It appears to be a safe haven for criminals!
“Patrolling has been stepped up and barricade checking has also ameliorated only to harass a commoner still crime proliferates freely and that too right under the nose of the local police. I do not feel secure in Delhi, I insist on day shift,” Madhuri Balodi, a journo, reveals.
LAND MAFIA HAND IN GLOVE WITH OFFICIALS
The Delhi Police rightly claim that the capital has no organised crime but on the other hand land sharks are working in collusion with high officials either in police department or in corporation, civic agencies.
Land grabbing has become a lucrative business whereby one misuses his clout to grab the land and this is possible only with the connivance of the local police and MCD. This nexus is not confined to the city of Delhi only but it runs across the country as well. Despite all this, there are some official in Delhi Police who fight tooth and nail for the cause; they fight against injustice; they wage war on the corrupt system, battling against land Mafiosi. It’s no picnic, instead, many SHOs are in cahoots with such land grabbers for a lion’s share. One who dares to fight suffers and even slapped suspension on the set (wireless) itself.
Inspector KSN Subudhi, SHO, Paschim Vihar, set such an example. He took the fight in his stride, though he fought with tenacity and stood firm on his stand. In this whole process, he not only suffered a good deal but got suspended as well . In west Delhi’s village Nangloi, where a government property was transferred , magisterial probe into this was conducted and it was found that Sukhbir Singh Patwari connived with some local persons and officials. This all was done in a haphazard manner and the then SHO Subudhi was removed allegedly for his malafide intention of disposing of or hand over the property to any one individual.
KSN Subudh has a spotless career in his service for 25 years and also awarded for his meritorious service. During investigation it was found that one Kishan Pal allegedly got the authority for the construction of boundary wall/servant room from the SDM Punjabi Bagh office. In that regard, Subudhi wrote an official letter to SDM/Punjabi Bagh asking for confirmation with regard to Kishan Pal’s claim which took a year. In the mean time, there broke out a scuffle between two groups on September 2010 on Khasra No. 371 Kishan Pal was one of the them.
The clash planted doubt on the mind of the SDM, who immediately summoned Pal and one Mohit Tiwari . The ownership of the property concerned failed to convince the SDM of the demand as the rightful owner, which ultimately led to the seizure of the property.
It was known that Subudhi was framed in this case fearing lest he should expose the whole well staged game, it never occurred to him his spotless career of 25 years in the service of Delhi Police would be stained. This suspension was slapped without his knowledge and the facts were not examined properly. Only after the enquiry into the case, it was discovered that Kishan Pal had filed a complaint against KSN Subudhi , which stated that he had dispossessed Pal from Khasra No. 371, Syed Nangloi Village to favour the other party. Later, the SDM attached the property in the absence of sufficient evidence. In his report, the SDM clearly said the land was acquired by the government till 2007 for public purposes. As per Kishan Pal, the said property was handed over to his (Kishan Pal) father by Ms. Rashida Begum. Which again brewed a fresh storm but contrast to the information issued by the SDM/Punjabi Bagh: There was no documentary proof such as letter or information available neither with Kishan Pal nor with SDM office which could prove the authenticity of Kishan Pal’s title.
“I worked honestly so far as this is concerned, the plot was hatched against me with intent to tarnish my image and soil the picture of Delhi Police. I was mentally upset so was everyone in the family. I never had malafide intention to either dispose of or hand over the possession to any individual,” said Subudhi. Under his leadership Paschim Vihar PS won the Best Police Station Award in the year 2010. Now he feels even more confident as the system reposed faith in him and brought him back to action, but the Revenue Department had to eat crow.
Delhi Police have to be answerable on various occasions but some good work does everyone of us proud like this case where this inspector fought against land sharks and foiled the attempt of encroachment of 500 crore worth land, hence saved the government property. (SWA)
“Delhi Police are far better than the police of any other state in the whole country. Comparatively they are quick in action but crime has no clock. Police as a deterrent agency sometimes fail to measure themselve up to the expectations of every single citizen which is just implausible. I give 7 on 10,” said Shveta Arora, a social activist.
Umang Sabharwal, an organiser of Slut Walk, says, “It’s a difficult city to live in, you never know what may happen to you while just walking on the road. Incidents of sexual assaults seem a common feature. Delhi in no way appears to be meant for women folks. The flip side is that girls themselves have to be more vigilant. They should understand how they carry themselves, on the other hand, the police are doing good but they are not going to be with you everywhere and all the time.”
By Syed Wazid Ali