The Home Minister of Maharashtra, R.R. Patil, has been claiming in the Legislative Assembly that crime in the state has gone down, but Nagpur seems to be completely controlled by criminal elements. The law and order situation is in a precarious sate. It seems that there is no such thing as police administration in the city. The Police Commissioner, Ankush Dhanvijay, seems to have no control over law and order in the city. Given this scenario, if the Home Minister is saying that the crime rate in the state has gone down then he himself is confused. If he wants to know the condition of law and order, he should come to the second capital of Maharashtra.
The Home Minister cited the National Crime Records Bureau’s report to claim that among the 53 big cities in India, Mumbai is the safest. He also claimed that the crime rate in Maharashtra is very low compared to other states. According to statistics, the crime rate has come down as compared to that of last year. There has been a 38 per cent drop in murders, 23 per cent decline in ‘attempt to murder’ cases, 10 per cent decline in thefts and 28 per cent drop in burglaries. These figures might instil a sense of safety but the ground reality is exactly the opposite. Especially in Nagpur, the level of criminal activities has rendered all the claims of the Home Minister baseless. In Nagpur, murders have continued unabated. Cases of theft are at an all-time high. Chain snatching continues in broad daylight. People have not forgotten past incidents of abduction for ransom even as new cases of extortion from businessmen have come to light. The police department suspects that the criminals active in Nagpur might have connections with Uttar Pradesh. This means that miscreants from outside are expanding their criminal network in the city. Under such circumstances, the Home Minister is making dubious claims that the crime rate has gone down. If the crime rate has gone down then why are so many cases of foeticide coming to light? An actress and her family members were killed years ago, but the state police swung into action only when a terrorist arrested by Delhi Police revealed the truth about the case.
On 5 July 2012 in Nagpur, 100-150 people barged into the District Sessions Court of Justice V.N. Tambi and tried to kill some of the witnesses. The witnesses saved their lives by hiding behind the chair of Justice V.N. Tambi. The police department was not able to maintain the sanctity of even a courthouse.
Newspaper reports in the first 15 days of July indicate an upward spurt in the crime graph in Nagpur. The police reach the crime scene only after the criminals have escaped. On 30 June, 45-year-old Pradeep Bhoyar, owner of Galaxy Beer Bar in the Imambara area, was killed by unknown persons. The police had just started investigations in this case when another murder was reported. A 35-year-old property dealer from Savitri Bai Nagar, Kailash Bhimrao Dongre, was killed near Manewada road. On the same day some people stole a truck from Vardhman Nagar after throwing the driver out of the vehicle. On 2 July, 31-year-old Nanda Rajesh Bhange was killed by her husband. On the same day, two minor girls were gang raped in Narsala area. Aakash Raut of Raghupati Nagar was kidnapped and beaten badly. On 4 July, Tilak Putla (near Rajiv Gandhi crossing) situated Vidarbha Premier Co-operative Society’s cashier, Lakshman Gandhi, was robbed of Rs. 1.23 lakhs. On the same day, incidents of chain snatching were reported from Ambajhari and Ajani areas. On 5 July, 100-150 people barged into the District Sessions Court of Justice V.N. Tambi and tried to kill some of the witnesses. The witnesses saved their lives by hiding behind the chair of Justice V.N. Tambi. The police department was not able to maintain the sanctity of even a courthouse. If the district administration is not able to protect the District Court, how can a common man in the city feel safe?
On 6 July, some mad man threw stones at a religious place in Kamathi area of Nagpur due to which members of a particular community got agitated. A group of 500 people attacked the local police station, injured four policemen and tried to torch 26 vehicles. There were cases of burglary where lakhs of rupees were looted from the houses of Deputy Mayor of Nagpur, Sandeep Jadhav, and a treasury officer. On 10 July, contractor Sunil Jejani’s house was attacked with country-made bombs, and later he was asked to cough up Rs. 10 lakhs or face dire consequences. After this incident the builders and businessmen in the area are living under fear. This is the first such case of extortion that has been reported lately. Sunil Jejani revealed that the group that was asking him for money has been pestering 17-18 wealthy people of the city to pay up ‘protection money’ for about a year. On the same day goods worth lakhs of rupees were looted from a mobile and camera shop in Sadar area. On 14 July, Saheb Rao Khorgade was arrested by Nandanvan Police for kidnapping and raping a 14-year-old girl in the Khaparkheda area.
All the cases that are mentioned above took place in the first 15 days of July. If all the cases of Nagpur district are taken into account then the situation becomes even worse. On 13 July, businessmen of the city organised a press conference at Sunil Jejani’s residence and said that criminals have no fear of the Police Commissioner, Ankush Dhanvijay. They also demanded that the Police Commissioner be transferred within 24 hours. All these cases show that the law and order in the state is not as good as it is being made out by the Home Minister of the state. The main problem is that criminals from other states are coming to Maharashtra and disturbing the law and order situation while the state police is able to do nothing. It is well known that Nagpur is one of the sensitive areas of the country, and is also on the hit list of terrorists. Nagpur is the head office of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and home of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s President, Nitin Gadkari, and many other important leaders. There are many religious places in the city which are thronged by devotees throughout the year. So the Home Minister should work on the security concerns of the people and stop claiming that law and order is in perfect shape in the state.