No gangster Network now in Bhubaneswar Better Policing
With the noted gangsters like Sandeep Acharya alias ‘Raja’ has been convicted with life sentence by a fast track court on December 17, 2010 and Sheikh Hyder has been put behind the bars since 2008, the Commisionerate Police has become successful in demolishing the mobsters’ network to the nth degree in the Bhubaneswar city of Odisha. As the organised crimes network has been wiped out from the Commissionerate Police jurisdiction, the denizens of the twin city of Bhubaneswar-Cuttack are now breathe easily.
In fact, the credibility of police was in stake and the crime scenario was deteriorating fast in the twin cities thereby paving the way for the criminals like Raja and Hyder to operate their network without any resistance from the cops till the much-awaited Commissionerate Police system came into effect on January 1, 2008.
Nabbing both the gangsters and bringing the deteriorated law and order situation into track was a tough challenge for the Commissionerate Police officials. Raja was wanted by the Bubaneswar Commissionerate Police in the sensational judo coach Biranchi Das case, who was killed by the gangster on April 13, 2008. The fast track court judge held the duo guilty under Sections 302/34 (murder and common intention) of Indian Penal Code (IPC), describing the crime as “heinous and cruel”.
With the Commissionerate Police taking firm roots, crime control and general crime situation have taken a new dimension. The increase in the floating population and complex mingling of metro stuff in the rapidly expanding capital has only added to the dark underbelly in the crime scenario. In the past one year, serious crimes like rape and murder have gone up while robbery, swindling and rioting have declined in the twin cities. With urbanisation and more awareness among public, the increase in the number of cases is obvious. But the efficiency and credibility of police is to be judged by its capacity to check the preventable offences and detection rates.
Statistics-wise, the overall crime situation has improved in 2010 compared to 2009 in Commissionerate Police limits. From 6,935 cases registered in 2009, the number fell to 6,817 in 2010. But there was a spurt in murder, theft, rape and motor vehicle accident cases during 2010. The number of murder cases increased to 63 in 2010 from 51, rape cases too went up from 46 to 60. However, dacoity, robbery, burglary, swindling and rioting cases registered a sharp decline during this period.
Giving a comparative statement of the overall crime rate in the twin cities, Sharma in a press conference held on January 12 in the state capital said the incidents of crimes under ten major heads had declined by 1.7 per cent in 2010 in comparison to 2009.
“WE NEEDS TO ESTABLISH BETTER CREDIBILITY”
Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Police Commissioner Bijay Kumar Sharma, a 1986 batch IPS officer, is an undaunted personality, working tirelessly to establish better credibility with the people in the twin-city, while focusing on better police-public relationship. In an interview to Uday India, he talked about various issues concerning the denizens of the twin-city and the over all crime scenario in police commisionerate jurisdiction. Excerpts:
What mechanism you are going to adopt to check the growing crime, particularly the rape and murder cases?
Murder and rape are not preventable forms of crime. Unlike the metropolitan cities here the murders are not being committed by professional killers. There are also no professional rapists. If organised murders happen out of profit, which is a matter of worry and we needs to deal with it. But in twin-cities, especially in the rural areas, most of the murders take place under intoxication, during the exchange of hot words, for personal gains and out of provocation.
The responsibility of the police so far as the rape and murders are concerned, is to ensure that those are cracked, detected and the accused are arrested in time and forwarded to the court. So far as the detection rate is concerned, we have achieved 95 per cent success in murder and cent per cent in rape. This reflects the promptness with which the guilty are nabbed and charge sheets are filed in court of law.
Isn’t true that more fire arms being used in the murder?
There are some instances of murderers using firearms. To be precise, the numbers of such cases are very less. When we talk about noted gangster ‘Raja Acharya’ who has been convicted recently and Hyder who has been put behind the bars were caught by us and we would like to ensure that the duo continue to in jail. In fact, the organised gangster network has been demolished completely and whenever new gang member emerges and their crime comes to surface, we are ready to take prompt action against the criminals.
The sensational murder case of judo coach Biranchi Das was a tough challenge for us. We did our best investigation. I am also thankful to all the witnesses including, Gitanjali Das, wife of Biranchi Das who stood by their words in the court during the trial paving the way for the conviction of Raja Acharya.
Would you like to focus on organised crime?
What are areas where you would focus in 2011?
To deal with the crime in a better way with the help of cutting edge technology, we aim to link 45 Police Control Room(PCR) Vans through Global positioning system(GPS) at a cost of about Rs 2 crore that provides reliable location inputs in all-weather conditions and at all times and in any part of the world. This apart, Closed Circuit TV Cameras would be installed at major traffic intersections and land marks of Bhubaneswar city at a cost of Rs 21 crore. These are two priority areas for us in 2011.
What was the major breakthrough for the commisionerate police in 2010?
We had focused in a couple of areas in 2010. Ensuring the full proof security of the capital city was a tough task for us. About 505 elite security personnels of the specially raised OSAP would be deployed to take care of VIPs, VVIPs and important vital installations like Assembly, Secretariat and Rajbhawan in Bhubaneswar city. We have met this challenge by raising a special battalion of OSAP in 2010.
Ours second focus was on traffic. In fact we have done a commendable job in traffic management scenario, which is becoming chaotic day-by-day.
The other most important area, where we emphasised more in last year was better police-public relationship. As a part of this mission, the commissionerate police had set up a total of 10 special cells in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack city to take care of senior citizens of the society who do not stay with their family members. Besides, we are the only commissionerate in the country having our own red cross. We were organised a lot of programmes like, afforestation, blood donation camp and health camps as a part of our good will gesture under the red cross banner.
What difference you find between the existing police commissionerate system and the previous traditional one?
We are certainly a creation of a specific legislation called Orissa Urban Police Act, 2008 where police officials have been given some additional powers which the traditional police organisation does not have. Unlike the traditional one, all the powers of police, magistrate and some petty judicial powers have been converged on one authority in the present commisionerate system thereby making the official to discharge multi-disciplinary role.
Than there is question of credibility. Unless you establish better credibility with the public and render service to the needy, the mere grabbing of power would not serve any purpose.
Are you working under pressure from your political boss?
We are working in a constitutionally-established political system. How can I say I am out of it? I am complying to the political system because it is a democratically-elected government. I have to abide by the government decision, instruction and rules on the matter as much as those are complying with the rule of the land and Constitution of the country.
During my more than two years tenure, I have given a kind of autonomy and independence which anybody would feel jealous of it. Absolute functional independence, in terms of whatever I want to was given to me.
But the responsibility lies with me to ensure that I should be on the right side of the law and should not break law or encourage the breaking of law by my own people. At the same time I should have respect for human rights, courts and political traditions of the country.
The growing number of road accidents and casualties has also emerged as a matter of grave concern before the Commissionerate Police. Accidents claimed 299 lives in the twin cities last year compared to 274 in 2009, an increase of 9 per cent. Expressing concern over the large number of such incidents, Police Commissioner Bijay Kumar Sharma said in many cases rash driving was responsible for this.
The Commissioner also dispelled the general impression that accidents on the national highway took more lives than on the city roads. But the city roads have also become death traps; he said adding that of 299 deaths last year, 133 were on NH while the rest were on the city and rural roads under the commissionerate. While deaths under Bhubaneswar urban police district were 190, those in the Cuttack urban police district stood at 109. Though there was a marginal increase in the number of accidents from 918 in 2009 to 929 in 2010, the increasing number of casualties was alarming, he said.
While the number of injuries in road accidents has decreased marginally from 785 in 2009 to 763 in 2010, deaths due to accidents have increased from 252 in 2007 to 279 in 2008 and a negligible decline to 274 in 2009. There was 20 per cent increase in road accident during the three-year period. Stating that the Commissionerate Police have initiated several steps to bring down the number of accidents, Sharma said the rising number of accidents is a matter of concern as these lead, in many cases, to law and order situation.
The major party-pooper for Congress in UP
Congress youth leader and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, who was in Lucknow recently, has sounded the trumpet for the election campaign. Identifying the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party as the biggest enemy he has asked his party men to prepare for elections and target BSP as its chief enemy. But things are not as simple. While Mayawati is indeed a formidable foe, there are few other factors responsible for making her stronger. They are the parties led by Muslim leaders, especially parties like Peace Party of Ayub Ansari.
Muslim voters in UP were never in such a big dilemma as they are in at present. The growing threat of being sidelined and treated as second-class citizen looms large over the minority community. Therefore, they are now looking towards leaders from their own community only. This intention of the Muslim community is causing the rise of new power axis in UP.
The first among these sends shivers down the spine of many Congressmen even though they won’t admit it in public and that is the Peace Party led by Ayub Ansari, a former Central Excise official. Ayub is rapidly spreading his tentacles in Uttar Pradesh. In Lakhimpur Kheri, he demolished the young MLA candidate of the Congress, the sitting MP Zafar Ali Naqvi’s son, even though the BSP was not a player in that field.
The second, a less feared adversary, is the Ulema Council of Azamgarh. Ayub’s presence keeps Mayawati happy too, as he does not affect her vote-bank but wreaks havoc on the Congress and the SP—the two sworn enemies of the BSP. Ayub has emerged as an Ansari leader, who has the capability to transfer Ansari votes to any candidate of his choice. He set up a Pandit candidate in Lakhimpur and the Muslims voted for him en masse, just because Ayub was backing him.
Today this dark knight has emerged as the biggest challenge to the golden prince that Rahul is for the masses. Today the Congress is virtually at a crossroads in Uttar Pradesh and unless it finds a way to counter Ayub, the political math will not add up in its favour.
There is a mass appeal for Rahul Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh. The hard work being done by Dr Rita Bahuguna has also not escaped the people. In this backdrop, the popularity of the Congress has increased, but there is Ayub standing in its way. He has given the Muslim voters of Uttar Pradesh a voice. And in that process, he might just destroy the dreams of Nehru Bhawan in Mall Avenue.
The main agenda of the Muslim political outfits is the development of the community. Their concept is that Muslims are more backward educationally than OBC Hindus like Ahirs and Kurmis. The general impression among members of the community is that most of the benefits of reservation under Mandal have gone to this more educated and prosperous layer of OBCs and Muslim OBCs are not being able to derive much benefit from this.
Therefore it is their demand that if 8.44 per cent of the quota under Mandal could be frozen for Muslim OBCs, as they are more backward than the others, they could derive benefits. Otherwise it is perceived that this quota will be grabbed by non-Muslim OBCs.
There are several Muslim OBCs in Uttar Pradesh like Julahas, Ansaris, Rangrez, Jamadar, Telis, Gaddis etc. About 80 per cent of Muslim castes in Uttar Pradesh are estimated to be backward Muslims.
The original formula was proposed by All India Muslim Forum President Nehaluddin Ahmad in 1994. Nehaluddin was a former Congressman and close associate of the late Rajiv Gandhi. For the first time, the Forum staged a dharna on June 19, 1994. Thereafter, a delegation met the then Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav regarding this issue.
On October 17, 1994, the AIMF organised a convention on this issue in Lucknow. Several prominent leaders like the West Bengal Minister Kalimuddin Shams, Mujahidul Islam Qasmi of the Personal Law Board, MR Khusro of the Aligarh Muslim University and MP and journalist Kuldip Nayyar attended it.
However, the then Mayawati government backed by BJP did not accept the idea and forum members were arrested staging dharnas and protests against her government. In 1997, this move found favour with Qasmi, who accepted this at a convention held in Lucknow. Former Prime Minister VP Singh included it in his manifesto and the CPM led by Akhilendra Pratap Singh supported it in UP. Later, the Ranganath Mishra commission echoed the same sentiments.
It is to be noted that this formula has been implemented in two states, i.e. Bihar and West Bengal. The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar was the first to implement this through a GO, freezing five per cent of the quota. The communists in West Bengal have done the same. In fact, they have frozen 10 per cent of the seats for backward Muslims in their state. It is worth mentioning that there are 86 per cent backward Muslims in West Bengal.
By Kulsum Mustafa from Lucknow
Since the Commisionerate Police System came into affect way back on January 1, 2008, the police officials have been made sincere efforts with a view to effectively combat crime and maintain law and order. “We have made significant initiatives to improve traffic management, while operational handicaps have been removed to some extent by sanction of new Police Stations and additional manpower,” says BK Sharma.
With the overall crime scenario in the twin-cities have been improved and the organised mobster network has been wiped out ever since the inception of the Commisionerate Police System. The Commisionerate Police Team comprising of Indian Police Service (IPS) Officers like Bijay Kumar Sharma as Commissioner, Ritu Arora as Additional Commissioner of Police, Rekha Lohani as DCP Headquarter-I, Himanshu Kumar Lal as DCP Bhubaneswar and Amitendra Nath Sinha as DCP Cuttack has done a commendable in many fields, still many more are on cards.
FACTS ABOUT MUSLIM VOTERS OF UTTAR PRADESH
■ More than 80 per cent of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh are backward-class Muslims.
■ At least, 220 assembly constituencies have Muslim populations ranging from 20 to 35 per cent.
■ Three parties have launched major campaigns to woo Muslims in Uttar Pradesh. They are Peace Party, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party.
■ The Bharatiya Janata Party is planning a major campaign to polarise both Muslim and Hindu votes.
■ The Samajwadi Party bases its campaign on an individual Azam Khan.
■ The BSP has several Muslims in its list of MLAs.
■ The Peace Party is emerging as the biggest spoiler for the Congress and is led by a former central excise official Dr Ayub Ansari, who is an OBC Muslim.
The young 2003 batch IPS officer Himanshu Kumar Lal, who hails from eastern States of Bihar having a Management Degree from IIM (Ahemadabad), has been in news ever since he took over the reign as DCP, Bhuabneswar for his action against the criminals. In fact, it was Himanshu Lal who did a lot to arrest gangster Raja Acharya from Panaji in Goa who was wanted in sensational murder case of Biranchi Das. Lal who had been served at Maoists stronghold in Malkangiri followed by KBK districts of Balangiri was earlier in the limelight following cracking of fake medicine racket and crime operation of dreaded gangster Haider in Bolangir. The man behind the brutal killing of Dr Bramhananda Panda, a well-known medical practitioner of Bhubaneswar in August, 2010 was also brought into light by him. In a swift investigation, Kharavelnagar PS staff under the direct supervision of DCP, Bhubaneswar identified the unknown accused, arrested him and recovered incriminating evidence against the accused.
To deal with crimes in a better way, the Commissionerate Police have the plan to install CCTV cameras at the various intersections and land marks of the capital city, while ensuring an effective traffic management system and crime control.
INCREASING SHOPLIFTING IN KOLKATA
With the emergence of a number of shopping malls and departmental stores across the city of Kolkata and its sub-urban areas, retailers have started to experience numerous cases of retail theft that are affecting business negatively.
Do people steal only to fight against poverty? The answer is no. Despite the fact that they are rich and famous, it seems as if many celebrities cannot resist the temptation to stick a few items in their pockets and walk out of the store without making the payment. Golden Globe award winner Winona Ryder, model and actor Adam Rickitt, a gold medallist in Olympic and the winner of three grand slams Jennifer Capriati, movie critic Rox Reel all added glamour to the list of shoplifters.
With the emergence of a number of shopping malls and departmental stores across the city of Kolkata and its sub-urban areas, retailers have started to experience numerous cases of retail theft that are affecting business negatively. When asked about the reason of shoplifting Ashok Ahuja, the owner of the famous 52-years-old Curio Emporium at the heart of the city expressed in grievance, “It is the typical psychology of the people. Sometimes you can find that people who are rich, who have a lot, wish to get more and more. This psychology puts them in trouble.”
It is often found that most of the children eat up the chocolate bars or candies before their parents’ reporting at the billing counters. In fact in the festive season or in the usual weekends when the rush is huge, it is hard for security to recognise the activities of the kids who become almost invisible in the crowd. This kind of unethical behaviour in public is not surprising in a so-called civil society like India which has been topped in the global retail theft list for the fourth consecutive year. Not only Kolkata, ‘operation five fingers’ is identified as a major problem to the retailers in almost all the metro across India.
Who are the major shoplifters?
Typically, large format stores or hypermarkets in Kolkata experience cases of shoplifting than compact small format stores. Women are found to prone to shoplifting behaviour. Sometimes, employees or the securities of the stores cannot say anything to the woman who steals and keeps the stolen item under burqa. “To avoid any racial controversies, we have to shut our mouth while knowing the true fact,” said an employee of a reputed mall in Kolkata.
Citimart, a Kolkata-based departmental store records around 400 cases of shoplifting per day among which 40 cases are identified. According to Subir Sarkar, the General Manager of the store, unfortunately 80 per cent are female shoplifters in their stores consisting teenagers and college goers. Women are fond of cosmetics and FMCG products like fairness cream and shampoos, ladies purse, fashion oriented top, artificial jewelleries etc. “Among men, 5 per cent do the crime out of acute need,” he informed. Spoilt school and college students commit the crime not out of kleptomania but only to get pure fun.
The shoplifters have a love for those things that are small in size and easy to carry. This love theory is applicable for both men and women. Retailers in Kolkata informed that consumers cut away radio frequency electronic tags and walk away wearing new garments or artificial jewelleries from stores.
But the rising theft by staff is a growing problem for retailers in Kolkata. Theft by employees accounted for 26.4 per cent of the shrinkage causing revenue loss of USD 590 million globally. The fledgling industry employs high school graduates and students in the front-end and witnesses attrition levels of 8-10 per cent every month. The salaries of these employees are dependent on the minimum wage laws of each state, and are around Rs 5,000 a month on average. According to Satendra Agarwal, CEO, supermarkets, Aditya Birla Retail Ltd, employees account for half of their total shrinkage. “This trend is high among the temporary staff as they do not know the rules and regulations and are unaware about the security position of the store,” Sarkar said.
Loss due to theft
“We register around 5-10 per cent loss in our total business due to retail theft,” said Sarkar. To mitigate the loss in business, the retailers are forced to offer higher price than closed stores where the possibility of roaming inside the store and picking up the wish lists gets nullified. While attending a meeting with Chamber of Textile Trade and Industry (COTTI) it was informed that theft is one of the major causes of concern among garment traders of Burrabazar, the century old business pocket of Easter India. Products are not only stolen from the stores, but also from the godowns. Suppliers/vendor fraud, internal error, administrative failure such as pricing, process, accounting mistakes and merchandise etc are the other causes of business losses.
The correlation between increased security spending and decrease in percentage theft is very significant as the retailers in Kolkata made considerable progress in introducing new loss prevention policies to combat crime and reduce shrinkage. Most of the retailers implemented fresh training for the employees to spot and deter theft and new crime-prevention hardware and software; and those who have not implemented yet, have started to think about it.
Though the hidden cameras are placed in different corners of some important stores, there are some limitations. The cameras are not operative for 24 hours. Employee theft prevention is not possible with the cameras as they are aware about the placement and the angles of those cameras. What can the software security do when the parents of a well-established family placed the stolen item in the hands of their kids at the gate? So, the question of morality comes here and in my opinion the hawker who sells cosmetics in the pavement of New Market Kolkata gave the answer, “Some of my goods are stolen regularly, but what can I do? I cannot stop my business. I have to keep faith on the good side of human beings.”
Unfortunately, the statistical figure does not reveal the picture of moral India. The number of shop-lifters is huge in India as the retail industry tops the list with a loss of USD 2.2 billion due to pilferage, according to the Global Retail Theft Barometer (GRTB) 2010 survey that was conducted across 42 countries. Shoplifting contributed 52.9 per cent of total retail shrinkage causing revenue loss of USD 1,056 million in India where retail is the one sector that offers lucrative potential to invest. The government’s favour for over 50 per cent FDI in multi-brand retailing will not assure the business loss of those global luxury brands that are enthusiastic to invest in India.
By Samarpita Roy from Kolkata
It is in this backdrop, there is a need for a special legislation in line with the one in Maharashtra, to deal with organised crime in the state. A proposal to this affect has been submitted to the state government. The Orissa Control of Organised Crimes Bill will add more teeth to fight organised crime once it comes into force. Two more schemes the witness protection scheme and victim protection scheme have also been submitted to the government under the reforms programme to enable the police achieve better results. The Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily, had also recommended for such a course of action.
With the Commissionerate Police is on tough job to deal with the criminals and ensuring a much better traffic management system with the help of advanced technology in the capital city of Bhubaneswar, it remains to see what changes are taking place in 2012.
By Kishor Dash from Bhubaneswar