As the new top brass of police takes charge in Pune, and Pimpri-Chinchwad gears up for a similar change, one of the key challenges before senior police officials in both cities will be to stop incidents of vehicle vandalism.
In Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, rival groups often go on a rampage and damage vehicles belonging to local residents. Police have failed to curb such incidents in the past. Since January this year, several cases of vehicle vandalism have been reported in both Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad.
On May 16, a group of at least 10 miscreants stabbed two persons, and then went on a rampage in Nehrunagar in Pimpri area, during which they vandalised 15 vehicles. About a month before that, a mob of about 25 persons, including several minors, went on a rampage in Kharalwadi area in Pimpri and damaged at least 28 vehicles, including 18 four-wheelers. Three more cases of vehicle vandalism were reported in February and March. In the first week of January, four such cases, in quick succession, were reported from Pimpri-Chinchwad, and over 25 vehicles were damaged by local goons.
Such incidents continued in June and July. In the first week of July, as many as 18 vehicles were damaged in Upper Indiranagar area. In September last year, two groups clashed with each other and ended up damaging 20 vehicles in Pimpri. Similar incidents were also reported in Warje Malwadi in 2017.
On April 30 last year, 15 vehicles were vandalised while on June 19, at least 25 vehicles were damaged. On December 5, some miscreants again went on rampage in Ramnagar area in Warje and damaged at least nine vehicles. Warje area had seen a spate of such incidents in 2016 as well.
“Most cases of vehicle vandalism are the fallout of a rivalry between local groups of hooligans. In many cases, the miscreants are minors. Though arrests are made in most cases, these people soon get bail. But most owners, whose vehicles get damaged in the vandalism, have nothing to do with the rivalry between groups,” said a police officer of deputy commissioner rank.
The officer added, “Strong action needs to be taken against these miscreants, which will send a message and deter people from resorting to vandalism and arson.”
“Our locality has seen at least three incidents of vehicles being damaged. When two local groups fight, we are always afraid that something will happen. We hope that the new senior police officers take strong measures to end such incidents,” said a resident of Nehrunagar.