| Women at the police commissioner’s office in Bhubaneswar. Picture by Ashwinee Pati |
Bhubaneswar, June 21: A group of women from Nageswartangi under Lingaraj police station today met the police commissioner to complain about inaction of the local police which has allegedly turned the locality into a den of criminals.
The women submitted a memorandum listing 30 chain-snatching cases in their area in last five months and demanded speedy police action to nab the culprits and ensure safety and security in Nageswartangi.
According to complainant Ranjita Mohanty, who works as central excise inspector in the city, while she was returning home in the evening of June 13, two goons attacked her and snatched away her gold necklace. She sustained severe injuries in the incident.
“Two youths came in front of me as I was returning home in the evening. While one was trying to snatch my chain, I caught hold of him. Soon, the other one hit me with an iron rod-like structure. As I had an open umbrella above my head, the rod did not hit my head directly. It struck my right arm. The second one kept on hitting me. Taking chance of this, the other person snatched my necklace, and both fled the spot,” said Mohanty, adding that though she had complained at the Lingaraj police station, but none had been arrested yet.
On June 10, Lilabati Sahu, who works with an NGO, was looted by some motorcycle-borne youths in broad daylight. According to Sahu, while she was going on her two-wheeler, two youths came on a motorcycle.
“When I slowed down near a bump, the youths snatched my necklace at knife point. When the incident occurred around 10am, the area was not crowded,” said Sahu, adding that the goons soon left the place as a security guard of a nearby apartment came out.
Similarly, while going on a morning walk, two women from Nageswartangi were looted by two youths who scared them showing sharp weapons.
“The youths were standing on the roadside, and one of them was pretending to be talking over phone. When we reached near them, they rushed towards us and snatched our necklace showing a knife. There were no other persons who would help us. We were so much scared that we could not even sound an alarm,” said Swarnalata Behera. Behera had also come to meet the police commissioner.
The complainants also submitted a list of nearly 30 such snatching cases occurring in their area in last five months. They said the women of Nageswartangi were no more wearing jewelleries while going out.
“Whenever we step out with our valuables, there are chances that we will be looted,” said a woman.
They even alleged that the attitude of the local police hurt them all the more.
“When we go to report such cases, the police ask us not to write writes words such as ‘loot’ and ‘at knife point’ in the complaints. In my case, the police officer directed me not to mention that the snatchers threatened me with a knife,” alleged Lilabati Sahu.
Snatching cases were on a rise in the city as more than two snatching cases are registered in each police station almost everyday.
In the first five months of 2011, as many as 486 theft cases have been registered in the Bhubaneswar urban department of the city police, in which majority were snatching and loot cases.
In 2010, the number of theft cases was 1,146 with a detection rate languishing at 42 per cent.