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rising crime in bihar : petty criminals and lower police are perhaps the real problem

dr. mohammad sajjad
asstt. prof.
centre of advanced study in history,
amu, aligarh

even while the chief minister of bihar is doing or claiming to do a lot to reduce crime, in the recent weeks during may-july 2011, there has been a big rise in crime across the state. such a phenomenon is more discomforting due to the fact that the home secretary, mr amir subhani, ias, is one of the most upright officers. he is an officer of highest possible integrity. his subordinates have great admirations and respect for his hard works in the matters of administration.

his entry into the civil services as an all india topper had inspired an entire generation of bihar . he remained a youth-icon for long. his success had injected confidence among the students who came to believe that education from a government school of rural bihar was no impediment in the way of qualifying the civil services. thus, the ‘ivory tower’ of the ‘elites’ got democratized, and since then the proportion of the candidates of humble background from bihar in the civil services has been rising appreciably.
yet, the district of muzaffarpur in north bihar has probably earned a relatively greater notoriety of rise in crime. the dig, tirhut range , mr bachu singh meena is perceived as a very tough police officer, and the lumpens/ criminals really have a fear of him. not only is this, the ssp, muzaffarpur, mr rajesh kumar, counted among very honest police officers. these officers are much accessible to the common people and quite prompt in attending and resolving the grievances. this writer had an interaction with common men and women waiting for these officers to meet outside their offices and they expressed great degree of satisfaction with these officers. then the question is; where lies the real problem?
the chief minister seems to have diagnosed the problem more aptly. on 26th july, he had a meeting with the dgp, where he entrusted the dgp with gigantic, daunting responsibility of monitoring the things on the thana basis. the cm further insisted that the specific thana in-chrge (sho) should be held particularly responsible for rise in crime. on the same day the ig also had meetings with the dig and the sps in muzaffarpur.
ground realities reveal that the real problem of bad policing is at the level of the dy. sp and below.
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on 10th july, the paroo ps of muzaffarpur, registered an fir (no. 181/11). the branch manager, mr lal bahadur singh was found dead inside the branch of a gramin bank at sarmastpur. the post mortem report, local media etc revealed that he was actually killed on friday 8th july 2011. the clueless police started picking up the history-sheeters of the locality. around 8 such criminals are reported to have been put behind the bars, besides the peon of the sarmastpur branch of the gramin bank, who is said to have opened the branch on saturday, 9th july, but closed it down soon, perhaps having seen the dead body. nobody knows why not the branch opened on a working day (saturday 9th july 2011). the villagers reported to the police on sunday, 10th july, only after they smelled foul stenches of the decomposing body.
on 15th july, the dy. sp, muzaffarpur (west) along with a big team of police, raided the house of a notorious criminal of the village sarmastpur, but the criminal had left his house just 10 minutes before the police could reach there. local dailies have been reporting that mr raghuvansh prasad singh, who represents the area in the lok sabha, and the former union minister, has also been taking special interest in this case because the deceased happens to have been closely known to him. the media also reported that few people had come to the branch in the afternoon of friday 8th july on a red colour four wheeler, bolero (mahindra’s). and that is the only clue to the police. it has also been reported that the deceased was about to find some incriminating evidences against his predecessor branch manager, who has been dismissed for a scam in the kisan credit card-kcc- scheme). that could have been the cause of murder. the intriguing thing about this episode is the fact that the local people have got entirely different version. they confide that rather than a red bolero, it was white bolero which had brought some people there in the branch on the day. secondly, one history-sheeter, who had reportedly been acting as a ‘remunerated’ broker between the loan seeking ordinary people of the locality and the branch officials, is yet to be touched by the police. some people have tried to convey this particular clue to the police functionaries, but the criminal is roaming free. some weeks back, this writer had published (bihar times) a story, “muslim pride at all costs: crime, politics, religion in a north bihar village”. incidentally, the ‘remunerated’ broker of the gramin bank’s sarmastpur branch, happens to be the central hero of the story. the nexus of the broker-bank official remains un-attended by the police. if at all the versions of the local people have to be relied, huge amount of bribe to the local police, is surmised to be the saving grace for the nexus.
that the lower rung of the police stands badly compromised is also evident by the fact that very same history-sheeter is also accused no. 1 in an fir (no. 334/11, dt 16 july 2011, saraiya ps, muzaffarpur. the case is of attempt to murder and attempt to snatch bike). but the local police have refrained from taking any action. the accused history-sheeter is said to be intimidating the complainant to withdraw the case. the close relatives of the complainant confide that far from taking action, the local police is advising (read ‘mounting pressure’) them to withdraw the case and effect a compromise. is this kind of police (in)action an outcome of greased palms of the thana functionaries? we perhaps can’t ever know the truth.
on 25th july 2011, an aggrieved person met the ssp with the prayer that he has been receiving anonymous letters demanding rs two lakhs as extortion. somehow the aggrieved could trace the whereabouts of the extortionist who had come from bhilai and was staying in a hotel in muzaffarpur, and he was aided by some local petty criminals. the ssp was prompt enough to have sent police to raid the hotel at about 10 p.m, and nabbed the four criminals, who were taken to the sadar thana, muzaffarpur. their call-records of the cell-phone helped identifying the local aide of the gang. but the next day there was no trace of the criminals. the crime-reporters of the local dailies were told by the police that nothing of this sort had really happened. it is believed by the aggrieved that huge amount of bribe to the local police from the gang of extortionists helped covering it up all.
in short, petty criminals have got very strong clout with the local police and that is perhaps the big problem, not only of bihar but of entire country. since long we have known that the rot starts from the top, and it cannot be stemmed from below. but the recent experiences from muzaffarpur ( bihar ) probably suggest that can you get paid for reviews on amazon. the people’s mood is that they expect harshest possible state action against the petty criminals. it is said that the bigger criminals have got engaged as contractors in the road/ civil construction being undertaken by the state on a big scale. they have also entered the three tier panchayati raj institutions in a big way. but the petty-criminals are the real menace to the society in present day bihar . and the lower rung police are perceived to be hands-in-gloves with these petty criminals who act as brokers in their daily ‘earnings’ beyond their salaries. this is how the criminals broaden their gang and expand their tentacles. who knows, after some time from now, they will be representing us in the legislative bodies.
let us hope, the chief minister and the dgp (the incumbent one, due to retire this month, belongs to muzaffarpur) are listening, and they will do the needful to give respite to the people.

worst enemies of the society are those who avoid exposing its ills





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