THE CHANDIGARH Police is losing its grip on the criminals who are repeatedly attacking their targets in broad daylight with no fear of law. On the one hand, there is a spurt in incidents of snatchings and robberies across the city and, on the other, the men in khaki supposed to prevent and detect such crimes are left complaining about sexual assaults, misbehaviour and manhandling by the violators whom they catch. In the last two months, at least four policemen were assaulted by miscreants in full public view and a woman constable was not only assaulted but also allegedly sexually assaulted.
In the last five months, at least 60 incidents of snatchings have taken place in Chandigarh. In most of the cases, police are clueless about the accused. The situation is not any better in the border cities of Panchkula in Haryana and Mohali in Punjab. Both the cities have also witnessed a recent spurt in incidents of snatchings and robberies. The Chandigarh Police is virtually headless these days, with its DGP Tajender Singh Luthra in Canada on a training course and no regular Senior Superintendent of Police. Instead, SSP (Security) Eish Singhal is holding additional charge of SSP (City).
On the deteriorating policing in the city, Home Secretary Anurag Aggarwal says, “There are review meetings held with the police department regularly even at the level of our administrator. The police department is asked to ensure that law and order is maintained and they should control the criminals. Only last month, there was a review meeting. The police department now submits a monthly report on the crime data. Yes, there have been cases of assault on policemen, but the Director General of Police or the DIG would be able to comment on these issues or other specific details.”
2 snatchings in half an hour in Chandigarh
Two cases of snatchings were reported from Sector 38 and Sector 40 market between 8.30 pm and 9 pm on Wednesday. A Sector 38 resident, Pamita Devi was walking home after making some purchases from the market in Sector 40. About 8.30 pm, two youngsters, riding on a black motorbike, approached her from behind and the pillion rider snatched away her purse. Then the bikers sped away. The purse contained Rs 2,000, a mobile phone and some other important documents. A passerby who witnessed the incident informed Police Control Room.
Before the police could begin searching the area for the miscreants, PCR received another call of snatching – this time in Sector 38. A pedestrian, Raja Ram, a resident of Dhanas colony, was going home. He was talking to somebody on mobile phone. Two youngsters, riding a black motorbike, approached him from behind and the pillion rider snatched away his mobile phone, and the bikers sped away. The police now suspect that the same accused were involved in both the incidents. Cases were registered, but the police are yet to get any clue.
In Chandigarh, cops at the receiving end
An Assistant Sub-Inspector of Punjab Police, Hans Raj, was stabbed by three unknown youths on the dividing road of Sector 9 and Sector 10 in the early hours of Thursday. They allegedly snatched his bag. The ASI is appointed in the security wing of Punjab Police and deputed at Punjab Police headquarters, Sector 9. SHO of Sector 3 police station, Punam Dilawari, said, “We have lodged a report in this connection but injured ASI Hans Raj has refused to give any official statement for lodging an FIR. We are also waiting for his medical report. The fact that his bag was snatched is being verified.”
ASI Hans Raj, who stays in the barracks constructed for security personnel inside the police headquarters, got up early in the morning and went to a nearby park when three unknown youths attacked him. Police sources said Hans Raj conveyed to his superiors that when he was crossing the road, three youths were standing in suspicious condition and when he asked them, they got angry and attacked him. He alleged one of the youths stabbed him on his butt and thigh. The injured was rushed to GMSH, Sector 16, and his condition was stated to be stable. A DDR was lodged at Sector 3 police station.
In another incident, Chandigarh Police’s Head Constable Suresh Kumar was on routine duty outside PGIMER roundabout on Wednesday evening. He spotted a motorcyclist (later identified as Ajay Kumar) riding without wearing safety helmet and talking on mobile phone. He stopped the violator and asked him to produce the vehicle’s documents. Ajay allegedly misbehaved with Suresh. When the head constable took out the challan book to issue a violation ticket to Ajay, the latter snatched the challan book, pushed Ajay and hurled abuses at him in full public view.
Suresh had to call reinforcement to save himself from further embarrassment. Ajay was taken into custody and booked under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code. He was produced in the court on Thursday and sent to judicial custody. Initially, Ajay had even attempted to escape, but because of the heavy traffic at the roundabout since it was the peak hour, he could not succeed. Inspector Lakhbir Singh, Station House Officer, Sector 11 police station, said, “Accused Ajay not only misbehaved with the head constable, restricted a government servant from performing official duty, but also hurled abuses at him and attacked him.” Ajay is a school dropout and resides in PGI’s residential complex.
In Mohali, motorcycle snatched at gunpoint
Ranjit Singh, a resident of Silbatta village, and his friend Parminder Singh visited a private hospital in Phase 7 of Mohali on Thursday morning. Welders by profession, both had gone to the hospital to weld some iron grills. According to the police, when Ranjit was parking his motorbike, two youngsters charged at them and one of them pointed a pistol at him. “I was shocked. There was no time for me to react. Before I could understand anything, one of them snatched away the motorbike’s keys from me and they both sped away on my motorbike towards Phase-8. I raised the alarm, but they could not be spotted,” Ranjit told Chandigarh Newsline.
The incident happened in the residential area around 11 am. The area during that time of the day remains quite busy. Mataur police station is located about 150 metres from the spot where the crime occurred. “I kept dialling Police Control Room number, but the number remained busy for a very long time. Then Parminder and I walked to the police station and lodged our complaint. We met the police station incharge, who heard us and then registered a case,” Ranjit Singh added. Mataur Station House Officer, Inspector Tarlochan Singh, said, “CCTV cameras are installed around the spot from where the motorbike was allegedly snatched. We have procured the footage and shall watch it to ascertain the identities of the accused and the exact manner in which the crime took place.” Later in the evening, however, the police found the motorbike abandoned in Phase 7, but remained clueless about the accused.
In Mohali, mobile and purse snatched away
Around midnight on Wednesday, Murari Singh was going home at Balongi. When he reached Industrial Area Phase 7, three men riding a scooter stopped him, assaulted him and took away his mobile phone and wallet containing Rs 500. He could not note down the registration number of the vehicle. A case was registered at Phase 1 police station. The police are yet to make any headway in the case.