M A I N   N E W S

Chandigarh loses ‘safe city’ tag with murders most foul
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Chandigarh is no more the City Beautiful. Every day its face is smeared with the muck of murders, kidnappings, snatchings, robberies and thefts further defiling the city that was once a perfect picture of peaceful existence.

The numbing murder of five-year-old Khushpreet, found 16 days after his kidnapping, showcases the baser elements that have crept in slowly, but, definitely, as a reality of the life.

Nothing signifies the total collapse of law and order in the city than the murder of a 75-year-old woman, whose body was found at her residence in Sector 21 here five days after the crime. The old lady, staying alone, had been raped before a robbery was committed.

Till date, police has not been able to lay hands on the guilty in the infamous Neha Ahlawat murder case that took place last July. Neha was found bludgeoned to death near her residence in Sector 38-West in the late evening hours. Months after the crime, the police announced a cash prize of Rs one lakh to anyone providing a successful lead.

Leave aside unsafe streets, particularly in the evenings, criminals have stuck at their whims and fancies in gardens and even in residences. Elderly ladies, in particular, have been robbed when on their morning walk. Recently, a 60-year-old morning walker was robbed of her ornaments by youth who brandished a pistol.

The number of burglary cases has increased from 24 in 1966, to 107 in 1992, to 257 in 2009. This does not include car thefts and snatchings and the ATM robberies. The elderly, particularly those staying alone, have every reason to worry more for their security. The changed family structure means more and more elders staying alone. Surprisingly, there is no system in place to keep a tab on their lives.

One of the biggest flaws that has crept in the existing system is the absence of the beat system for cops. In the traditional set-up, residents of any locality were aware of the beat officer in their areas. There existed a way for the residents to keep themselves updated about the happenings in the vicinity of their areas and in assuring public of their safety.

According to recent figures, the UT has only 2,712 police personnel against the sanctioned strength of approximately 5,000. A sizeable portion of the security caters to the VIP judges and senior officials of Punjab, Haryana and UT governments. The current situation requires a very serious look into the crime issue and an action plan to counter the failings at the earliest.


The Stark Reality

Jan 7, 2010: Punjab Advocate General’s 75-year-old mother-in-law raped, murdered

Jan 6, 2010: Khushpreet, all of 5, found dead 16 days after he was kidnapped

Aug 1, 2009: Body of Neha Ahlawat, 22, found semi-naked; murderers still out there

Criminals have stuck at will and attacked people in gardens, residences and streets

Steep rise in burglary cases

The handicap

The union territory has only 2,712 police personnel against the sanctioned strength of 5,000. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a sizeable portion of security personnel are attached to VIP judges and senior Punjab, Haryana and UT officials. 





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