Probes into grave cases come to a standstill; worry is over the growing number of people participating in programmes

For next few days, the main objective of the city police top brass is to ensure peaceful conduct of the ensuring Milad-un-Nabi festival celebrations in the State capital.

Majority of the police would be engaged in overseeing security arrangements for the processions and ‘jalsas' (meetings) connected to the festival, and not prevention or detection of crime. “There is no other way”, police top brass assert.

“Basic policing is suffering due to the growing number of religious events in the city,” admits Hyderabad Police Additional Commissioner, Amit Garg. Half of the police station staff is used for patrolling the areas around the venues of the religious programmes. Some more policemen are deployed at the pandals or meetings to keep watch on trouble mongers.

Since the policemen and officers from the Central Crime Station are drawn for ‘bandobust', investigation into grave cases comes to a halt. Police records indicate that religious events, including processions and meetings, have nearly doubled in past five years. Twenty years ago, Ganesh, Ramzan and Bonalu festivals were the only ‘main events' for the police from law and order point of view. This underwent a sea change now. There is an upsurge of Durga goddess idol installations and pandals with festivities spread across nine days during Dasara festival. Celebrations for Deepavali are also on the rise.

Taking out religious rallies during Sri Rama Navami and Hanuman Jayanti were rare in the past. However, processions in the backdrop of these festivals too have gone up. ‘Jalsa' events and rallies organised in connection with Milad-un-Nabi too increased. More often, the long convoys of vehicles in these processions adversely affect the vehicular movement on main roads. One cause of concern is increasing number of events. “More worrying factor is the growing volumes of people participating in them. This naturally requires effective planning and more resources,” says a police officer.

What started as a small skirmish between two communities while tying flags at Hussainialam during a festival in March, two years ago soon transformed into serious communal clashes. Police had to clamp curfew in entire south zone and parts of west zone. This was followed by violence during procession of Bajrang Dal activists at Musheerabad three days later. Mr. Amit Garg feels the ‘element of show of strength' and ostentation associated with such events is leading to ‘trust deficit' among different communities. Police are trying to bridge the gap by coordinating with elders of all communities. That is what we can do in present circumstances, he says.