February 24, 2009 2:13:23 am
Women of the Sakhi Mandal,who had hit the headlines by taking up cudgels against bootlegging in Surat,have a new opposition to contend withthe police.
The Surat rural police have warned the Sakhi Mandal members not to take law into their own hands. It has said if they fail to get support from the local police,they should contact the higher authorities.
On Thursday afternoon,hundreds of Sakhi Mandal women of Bardoli and Mahuwa talukas met Surat District Collector Dilip Rawal and DySP K G Bhati and presented a memorandum saying that the police are not supporting them in their drive to make their village liquor free. The women also alleged that the local police are hand in glove with the bootleggers,as they are getting money.
Bhati,on Friday,paid a visit to Bardoli and Mahuva talukas and talked to the policemen there.
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The drive to destroy liquor dens in different villages in Mahuva and Bardoli talukas had started last month. The Sakhi Mandal women storm ed liquor dens in large numbers and handed over the bootleggers to the police. The drive later extended to other talukas as well.
Bhati told Newsline: We are ruling out the allegations made by the Sakhi Mandal women that the police are taking money from the bootleggers and are not taking action. We have made 25 prohibition cases against bootleggers in Bardoli taluka and 23 such cases in Mahuva taluka. In all these cases,the Sakhi Mandal women were present at the spot. We talked to our staff and told them that when they seize spurious liquor,they should send the samples to the forensic science laboratory to check for the presence of urea,ammonium nitrate or any other chemical.
He added: As per law,the Sakhi Mandal women cannot catch or beat up bootleggers. If they have any information,they should inform the local police or else the higher police authorities.
Anita Choudhary,a Sakhi Mandal representative of Bhesudala village,said: We used to inform the police two days prior to raiding a liquor den. In certain cases,the police accompanied us and took strict action against the bootleggers.
When asked about the allegation against police inaction,she said,I was not part of the group that levelled the allegation.
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