Saturday, February 24, 2007

Cauvery protests hit policing

Cauvery protests hit policing
the Hindu

Besides handling demonstrations, the Central division police provide security to key buildings, writes K.V. Subramanya

DEMONSTRATIONS against the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal have severely affected routine policing and crime investigation in police stations in the Central division for the past two weeks.

Since the tribunal announced its award on February 5, at least 15 demonstrations are being held at different places in the Central division.

Almost the entire police force in the division is spending around 12 hours a day making security arrangements during the rallies, a senior police official said.

Routine work, including crime investigation, has come to a halt, as the policemen are busy maintaining law and order during the demonstrations, the official said.

Sir Puttanna Chetty Town Hall, Banappa Park, K.R. Circle, Basaveshwara Circle, Mysore Bank Circle, Mahatma Gandhi statue, Raj Bhavan, the venues of most of the demonstrations, come under the Central division.

Besides handling the demonstrations, the Central division police have been providing security to the Vidhana Soudha, Vikasa Soudha Raj Bhavan, High Court, a large number of ministerial bungalows, government guesthouses, stadiums and star hotels that are in their jurisdiction.

Palace Ground, the venue for huge public meetings and exhibitions, is also under the limits of the Central division police.

Such a situation has been prevailing in the Central division for years and the Cauvery agitation had only worsened it, the official said.

As the police personnel are often put on security duty, routine policing, mainly the day and night beats, are affected.

Even maintaining records at police stations has been suffering due to this.

Most of the time, inspectors and sub-inspectors are exhausted making security arrangements. They would not be in a position to apply their mind in investigation and guide their subordinates in crime-related work. Thus, investigation had been affected, he explained.

Incidentally some of the sensational murders that have remained undetected for years were reported from the Central division. For instance, the twin murders of Meena Rasquinha and her maid in Ashoknagar and Indu Rajagopal and her sister in High Grounds and that of Delci Vaaz in Cubbon Park police station limits.

Senior officials are of the view that the Government should ban demonstrations within a 3 km radius of the Vidhana Soudha. Organisations and political parties should be made to hold rallies in other parts of the city as this would prevent traffic jams in the busy central areas and also reduce the burden on the Central division police.

Some officers even suggest that a special squad, comprising two Assistant Commissioners of Police, five inspectors and a few sub-inspectors, should be formed to exclusively deal with demonstrations.


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