Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Where cops cower in fear, culprits have free run

♦ Local residents thrash cops thrice in three months.
♦ Cops keep the police station's main entrance locked for fear of fresh attacks.
That is Shyampukur police station in the heart of the city, which has the required support system and where the staff-crunch is no worse than that of other police stations.
Metro tries to decode the problem.
Why is Shyampukur a target?
Instead of taking action against assaulters, senior officers seek political intervention, an officer claimed.
"Whenever young men from the Kana Raja slums attack us, our seniors try to get in touch with local political leaders," he said. "We are paying for this attitude. Teaching the attackers a lesson and arresting them is not a tough job for us."
The slum, barely 100m from the police station, is known as a Trinamul stronghold in the area.
Citing Monday's attack, the officer claimed when youths of the slum thrashed a police team and fled with a minor girl and her alleged kidnapper, senior officers contacted a local Trinamul leader instead of seeking reinforcement from Lalbazar.
In the past two attacks - one of which was carried out by people of the slum - the police never launched a crackdown.
Another officer claimed there were "instructions from the top" not to raid the Kana Raja slums.
"It has given the offenders a free run. People are not afraid to attack cops because they know they can go scot-free," he said. "We are being assaulted because of the inefficiency of our own department."
After Monday's attack, policemen from the neighbouring area stood guard outside Shyampukur police station. The reinforcement was not used to arrest the assaulters but protect the lawkeepers.
Is Bengal's notorious legacy to blame?
Senior officers had said last year that the attacks on Shyampukur police station was the ripple effect of assaults on policemen across the state and the accused being spared.
In Birbhum, a Trinamul leader walked into a police station and "slapped" an officer in 2014. The offender faced no legal action.
In 2015, a Trinamul councillor was accused of assaulting a traffic sergeant at Survey Park in Santoshpur. The police only registered a case against the councillor but did not take any action.
"This attitude of allowing offenders to go scot-free has resulted in today's situation," an officer said.
Snatching away someone from the cops is considered a serious offence and the accused can be prosecuted under Section 353 of the IPC, which deals with stopping a public servant from discharging his duty.
How did the attacks unfold?
On Monday, a couple of officers were attacked by at least 30 people of the Kana Raja slums when they tried to rescue a 16-year-old girl whose father had alleged that a youth from the slum had kidnapped his daughter.
Last year, on October 28, a group of cops from Shyampukur police station had been attacked when they tried to disperse two warring factions of the ruling party, barely 50m from the police station. As they fought for over five hours, the police locked themselves up inside the police station.
On December 12, the cops had picked up a man on the charge of disorderly conduct under the influence of alcohol. Within minutes of bringing the man to the police station, a group of 200 men and women stormed in and ransacked rooms and damaged furniture, an officer said.
What action has been taken?
The police registered cases in connection with the three attacks on cops of Shyampukur police station.
In the incident of October 2015, the police arrested two people although a group of 50 youths had thrashed the cops. They were soon released on bail as they had been booked under light charges.
In December, a group of 200 men and women vandalised the police station and fled with a man who had been arrested on the charge of disorderly conduct under the influence of alcohol. The police later rearrested the man but none from the group who had gone on the rampage.
There have been no arrests till now in connection with Monday's incident.

The above is from The Telegraph

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