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March 27, 2011

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Home > 2011 Issues > March 27, 2011


Don't make Delhi a crime capital
Delhi now reflects Sierra Leone.

Reading newspapers in the morning in Delhi, one would think that the city is some location in crime land. Definitely it does not look like the capital city of India. The daily stats of crimes in Delhi include at least few rapes, a couple of murders, a few abductions, several robberies, especially of jewellers in busy markets, bag snatchings and the increasing trend of juvenile crime, of teenage children killing their classmate.

The Delhi Police has some of the finest IPS officers and is among the best equipped forces. With 80,000 personnel, it is one of the largest metropolitan police forces in the world. And yet, the crime rate in Delhi is increasing at a pace unfathomable. It is old hogwash to say that the rate has increased because more cases are being reported than before. According to a 2007 statistics, the crime rate in Delhi stood at 357.2 per one lakh population as against the national average of 167.7 per one lakh population, nearly three times higher. However, according to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, the crime rate has shown a decline in Delhi from 392.66 in 2001 to 281.34 in 2010. Some consolation!

The rate of conviction of criminals in Delhi is poor and the number of under trials in jails is huge. The jails are hard pressed for space and each cell has more than the number of criminals it can accomodate. Undertrials languish in jails for long, long years. Vagaries of a soulless system.

As though replaying scenes from a bygone era when law of the jungle ruled, men carry away women from streets-young college students, working women-keep them captive, abuse them and throw them on railway tracks or deserted places. In most of the cases, the culprits have not even been identified. In fact a recent report said two girls were walking together, one was abducted, the other called the police for help, which came too late. In another case, a girl on her way to college was shot dead in the middle of bristling place. The culprit was later arrested in Mumbai. The fact is, he got away from the crime scene, within a few metres of a police post. This is a common complaint one hears from the citizens of Delhi. In a classic Hindi movie style, the police always arrive late, when all action is over.

The Delhi Police comes under the Union Home Ministry and hence the blame for its failings must be laid on the doors of the UPA government. In fact this is the ruse that the Delhi State Government and its Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit take. But it is up to the Delhi Government to pressurise the Centre to act on the issue.

As of today, it has become dangerous for women to set out alone, even during the day. Parents are scared of letting children out of their sight, lest they are kidnapped for ransom and worse. The elderly have never been more vulnerable than they are now.

One of the banes of security scene in Delhi is the VIP duty. Right from the top, to the MP level, the Delhi Police personnel are deployed on VIP security. While the VIP security gets fortified, the common man is left to defend himself. In a recent incident, a 77-year-old woman was put on a cycle rickshaw by her sister and seen off, around 7 in the evening. When she did not reach her home even two hours later, her family went to the police station. The family was shunted between three police stations for registering a complaint. The old woman was found in near-unconscious state in a deserted stretch, where she was sexually abused by the 22-year-old rickshaw puller. If the complaint had been registered and action taken, the woman would have been saved because it happened within a few kilometer radius. Such is the insensitivity of the police. The police stations are in a competition to show crime rates low in their area. They have been instructed by the top cops that statistics is more important than human beings. Commitment to the society is secondary to their own convenience. And unpublicised crime is a crime not committed.

Sierra Leone, a country in West Africa is considered one of the most dangerous zones in the world, crime ridden and corrupt. Delhi, with its burgeoning population, high level of urban poverty accompanied by pathetic living conditions and lack of coordinated action by the Centre and the state government is fast becoming a lawless land. The capital city of any country is a nation’s pride. It is for the people at the helm, both political and administrative to restore Delhi to its prestine glory.

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