| Files stacked up in one of the rooms at the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes police station in Patna. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) police station produces an accused in court the same day.
However, the quick action has nothing to do with speedy trial, rather the lack of a lock-up to keep the accused in custody compels the police personnel to do so. Even the building is so dilapidated that it may collapse any moment.
The police station has only five personnel against the sanctioned strength of 22 to look into complaints of members of the Dalit community. It has neither any vehicle nor a driver to visit the scene of crime or carry out raids to arrest the accused.
Set up around four decades ago, the police station located off Boring Canal Road near Hartali Mor functions from a dilapidated building. Needless to say the lack of transport facility has adversely affected investigation.
The station house officer (SHO), Nishar Ahmad, was caught in a dilemma when the father of a Dalit girl lodged a complaint that his 16-year-old daughter had been abducted by some influential persons of Haspura village on the other side of the river Ganga around two weeks ago.
The SHO had to hire an autorickshaw to carry out raids on the suspected hideouts of the accused. Though the girl was released by her captors and recovered safely after the police mounted pressure on the relatives of the accused, the perpetrators of the crime are still at large.
The police have no vehicle to conduct further raids to arrest the six, whose names figured in the FIR. “It hurts me when I see the father of the girl requesting the bada babu (as the SHO is commonly referred to) to arrest the accused, who are moving freely,” said an officer.
The officer said they had to face a lot of problem even after the girl was recovered a few days ago. “We had to travel with her in an autorickshaw while taking her to Patna Medical College and Hospital for a medical examination and that too when it was raining (February 27-28),” he said. Even taking the victim to the court to get her statement recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC was no less excruciating. The investigating officer had to hire the autorickshaw every time, he added.
Apart from the SHO, the police station has two sub-inspectors, one assistant sub-inspector and two constables.
The situation turns worse when a constable is assigned to execute an arrest warrant. Even if the accused is arrested, there is all possibility of him escaping. The police station has one male and female constable each.
When contacted, CID inspector-general (IG) Alok Raj said he has already written to the secretary of the building construction department to shift the police station immediately. The CID has been assigned to monitor the functioning of the SC/ST police stations across the state
The IG had inspected the police station in December last year and recommended the SC/ST Commission to equip the unit with adequate facility. Ahmad said on an average 200-300 complaints of atrocities against the members of Dalit community are received every year.