Spurt in crime forces Nitish to review law and order
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar called yet another high-level law and order review meeting on Saturday, unnerved by the spiralling crime graph in Bihar.
This is the third one since the formation of the new government after the November elections. Previously, such meetings were held just once or twice a year.
Nitish holds the important home department, which includes the police. While the Opposition is already going hammer and tongs over the situation, the main cause of concern for him is that ally BJP has also started raising its voice over the deteriorating law and order in the state.
BJP state unit president Sanjay Jaiswal and Darbhanga MLA Sanjay Saraogi had recently expressed concern over the increase in crime in the state and the erosion of the fear of police among the criminals.
Nitish’s meeting came at a time when the spurt in cases of crimes like murder, rape, loot, robbery and kidnapping have been hogging the limelight on a daily basis.
Sources in Nitish’s Janata Dal United (JDU) said that the chief minister is worried about a concerted effort to compromise the law and order situation in the state to discredit him.
“Law and order, good roads and development of all sections of the society have been USPs of Nitish’s governance. Among these, any deterioration in law and order has immediate repercussions on public perception and sentiments. It is possible that vested interests are behind in increase in crime so that he could be discredited. The sudden spurt after the elections points towards this,” a senior JDU leader told The Telegraph on the condition of anonymity.
The same leader said that Nitish was also worried about the deterioration in the law and order situation leading to a demand by the senior ruling partner BJP to relinquish the home department.
“Some senior BJP leaders are already commenting about the poor law and order situation. It is a well-known fact that their party would like to have the home department in its hands. Thus Nitish is in a bind; on the one hand the Opposition is baying for his blood, while on the other the allies are also expressing their displeasure. It’s a tough situation,” the JDU leader added.
Apart from senior officials, all district magistrates and superintendents of police also attended the meeting via video conferencing.
Sources present at the meeting said that the chief minister expressed displeasure over the unchecked crime and issued several instructions to address the situation.
“Maintaining law and order is the foremost responsibility of the state government. Crime should be strongly controlled and there should be no irresponsibility in it. Regular police patrolling apart from night patrolling needs to be ensured. Special focus should be on the security of women and strict action should be taken against the people involved in crime against them,” Nitish directed the officials.
“The people of the state would get real benefits of development only with proper crime control and strict law and order,” Nitish added.
Asking for utmost sincerity towards crime control, the chief minister also told the officials to strictly enforce prohibition and take action against those involved in illicit liquor trade.
Nitish pointed out that as per the state government’s assessment, land disputes are behind 60 per cent of fights and crimes. He directed the officials from police station and circle levels to the district level to hold regular meetings to resolve such disputes in their jurisdiction.
The village chowkidars (guards) have been asked to inform issues related to their villages to the police stations in their vicinity every Saturday, so that the circle officers and station house officers could address them swiftly.
A senior official who attended the meeting chaired by the chief minister said that the instructions given by him to curb crime were “of basic nature, but showed that the policing at the ground level has broken down. Round-the-clock patrolling by the police remains a distant dream in the state despite the recruitment of around 20,000 constables over the last few years.”