The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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When dark, it’s deadly
- Lack of policing and rogue policing are the cancer in our city’s lungs

Case I: Mohammad Salauddin, in his early 40s, went missing from his Keshub Sen Street residence on October 12. His mangled, decomposed body was found on Tuesday near the Mohun Bagan ground on the Maidan. On Wednesday, police said preliminary medical examination of the body had revealed deep injury marks on the neck, suggesting he had been struck by a sharp object…

Case II: Soma and Deep (names changed), employees of a bank near Chowringhee, were taking a stroll along the Maidan. Near Queensway crossing, they sat down on the grass. Within minutes, two men on a motorcycle came and trained the headlights on them. The pillion-rider jumped off, identified himself as a cop and demanded Rs 200 for catching them “in a compromising position”. Deep refused to pay the extortion money and, instead, dialled Lalbazar control room from his cellphone. Prompt action from the police headquarters saved the two colleagues from the bad cops of an adjoining thana, out to make a quick buck on the Maidan…

How safe is our Maidan'

Caught between lack of policing and rogue policing, the Maidan after dark is a place to avoid. Bright and beautiful from dawn, the vast stretch of green turns dark and dangerous from dusk.

The spotlight is back on the safety — or the lack of it — on the Maidan, following the discovery of Salauddin’s body on Tuesday. This comes two years after the body of a woman — unidentified for two months — was found on the Maidan.

“The family members of Salauddin finally identified his body on Wednesday afternoon,” said Ajay Kumar, deputy commissioner of police (south), adding that the man might have been murdered on the night of October 12.

“The body may have been dumped later on the Maidan,” he added.

But why come from elsewhere to dump a body on the Maidan' “The fact is that apart from the roads, the rest of the Maidan remains dark… If something is dumped in one of the culverts in the middle of the green, it might not be spotted for days,” pointed out a local policeman.

The lack of lights is matched by the poor patrol facilities. “Four bicycles and one jeep are just not enough to provide security cover to the vast Maidan at night,” grumbles a cop on duty.

If the good cop can’t protect the Maidan, there’s little protection from the bad cop on the Maidan, either. “Yes, extortion, especially from unsuspecting couples, is a major menace on the Maidan. Policemen from adjoining thanas often turn up to make a killing,” complains a Maidan police station officer.

So, at the end of the day, the Maidan in the dark is a happy hunting ground — for criminals and cops alike.

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