The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Teen gang spurt has cops on edge

Eight dacoits, six of them teenagers and two students of Classes VII and IX, were arrested at Baguiati on Sunday night. Two improvised pipeguns loaded with bullets, two choppers and eight bombs were seized from them.

According to local police, 10 youths had assembled in the Dhapar Math area of Baguiati to plan a dacoity. Acting on a tip-off, police surrounded the area. The dacoits, who were hiding in a bush, realised they had been surrounded and prepared to flee. Eight of them failed to break through the police cordon.

“We had a special interest in the case, as the gang is new and composed entirely of teenagers. As most of the noted criminals have been forced to desert the area, these youngsters were capitalising on the vacuum,” said Ajay Nand, additional superintendent of police, Salt Lake.

“Three of the teenagers in the gang have already committed dacoities in Salt Lake. Two are school dropouts. We are trying to find out their links, as they have confessed they operate in a chain. The core group strikes based on information collected by local goons and criminals,” said officer-in-charge Supriyo Das of Baguiati police outpost.

A few days ago, another gang of teens was arrested from the same police station area. The leader was a Class IX student of a local school. “The signals are alarming. We are worried about how to tackle this epidemic of teenagers taking to crime to make a fast buck. Most of them hail from backward areas, like Jantragachhi, Ghuni and Gouranganagar,” said a police officer.

Some of the arrested youths had confessed they had taken to crime to buy themselves mobile phones and other luxuries. What is vexing the cops even more is that this rising breed is being helped by senior goons with arms and ammunition .

“The use of improvised weapons is a new trend. The older lot used country-made single-shotters and knives. Now, they use daggers, choppers and pipeguns, which are more dangerous to tackle. They interact on cellphones, which is another disadvantage for us,” said an officer.

But what is more cause for worry is that the policemen set to tackle these teenagers are mostly on the verge of retirement.

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