Police investigate the spot in Baradwari where Saurabh Gadiwal was attacked on Saturday night. (Bhola Prasad)
One month, six robbed at gunpoint. An elite Jamshedpur’s sprinting crime graph can put many of the world’s sin cities to shame.
Despite the business community crying hoarse for extra cover and arms licence, and police seemingly stepping up patrol, gun assault, bloodspill and snatching continue unabated in the steel city and its unmonitored fringes.
On Saturday night, two men on a bike intercepted a 28-year-old employee of a local dry fruit merchant, let a bullet graze his chin and fled with Rs 22,000 he had in cash in a bag, which also contained some trade samples. That the incident took place near Supervisors’ Flat around 9.30pm is another indicator of lax policing in the heart of the city.
Saurabh Gadiwal was returning to his employer Manoj Agrawal’s house in Baradwari having collected proceeds from Sakchi market when he was attacked and robbed, and then shot at for protesting. The youth was rushed to Tata Main Hospital, where he was operated upon on Sunday. Doctors said he was still not out of danger.
Sitaramdera OC Deepak Kumar, who inspected the attack spot, said they had found an empty cartridge of a 9mm pistol. Later, DSP Virendra Prasad Yadav too visited the scene of crime, but did not mouth any security promise for businessmen and their employees.
Gadiwal was the sixth victim since August 8.
On September 2, three men had snatched Rs 45,000 from a trader at gunpoint on Tata-Patamda Road near NH-33. Similarly, bike-borne criminals had targeted businessman Pramod Shah near Sunsunia gate in Burmamines on August 18 and relieved him of Rs 1 lakh.
August 12 saw two such incidents. An armed gang robbed trader Afizulla Ansari of Rs 1 lakh at Kalikanagar on Tata-Potka Road, while targeted one Ranjan Jha in Agrico, Sidhgora, for cash. On August 8, gun-wielding men had snatched Rs 4,000 from vegetable trader Kishore Verma at Burmamines.
May and June too witnessed terror.
Businessman Pradeep Agrawal was robbed of Rs 4 lakh at gunpoint in Sakchi on May 10. The same day, criminals had shot dead a transport company staff carrying Rs 6 lakh in Azadnagar. On June 21, Golmuri rice trader Vinod Agrawal was gunned down in Burmamines and a part of the Rs 7 lakh in cash he had on person was robbed.
“No trader is safe in Jamshedpur. And this is because police are not able to cope with the rising crime rate,” a livid businessman, not willing to be named, told The Telegraph on Sunday.
SCCI vice-president Suresh Sonthalia agreed. “If police fail… the situation is grave for citizens, especially traders,” he said.
Sonthalia pointed out that after Vinod Agrawal’s murder in June, the SCCI had sponsored CCTV cameras at a number of places, but police had failed to use this hi-tech surveillance to their advantage.
“They (police) should identify the gaps and plug them,” he said, adding that he would soon meet SSP Richard Lakra on the deteriorating law and order situation in the city.
Lakra conceded that the crime graph was bound north, but harped that police were doing their best. “Culprits will be brought to book. We are trying our best.”