Madurai police have a challenging September and October ahead, writes S. Sundar

September and October give a litmus test to the Madurai police. The death anniversary of Dalit leader Immanuel Sekaran and the guru puja of Muthuramalinga Thevar fall on these months.

Every year the police gear up by August-end for liaison with the warring caste groups to maintain law and order and ensure tranquillity. Thousands of police personnel are deployed in the district at least two days prior to those two events. But, two bloody incidents that took place last year — the murder of a Sub-Inspector of Police, Alwin Sudan in November during the Maruthu Pandiyar Guru puja, and the death of seven persons in a petrol bomb attack on October 30 during Thevar Guru puja — has put the police on a even tighter spot this year.

The police fear a backlash by rival groups on September 11 and October 30. Two months back, a caste Hindu organisation warned the police of ‘retaliation’ if the accused in the petrol bomb case were allowed to come out on bail.

Against this backdrop, quiet a few key posts in the city and district police are lying vacant for the past few months. It has become a matter of concern ahead of the tense months.

The State Government has only recently made an announcement to fill the post of Deputy Inspector General of Police (Madurai Range) which has been lying vacant since April. The new officer is yet to assume charge.

Moreover, the posts of three Deputy Commissioners and an Assistant Commissioner (Thilagar Thidal) in the city and one Additional Superintendent of Police and four Deputy Superintendents of Police in the rural district are lying vacant. The additional workload caused by of the three vacant posts of the DCs — Traffic, Headquarters and Armed Reserve — has fallen on the two Deputy Commissioners taking care of law and order and crime.

The vacancies in the posts of the ADSP (Prohibition Enforcement Wing), and the DSPs (PEW, Tirumangalam, Oomachikulam and District Crime Bureau) have become a major handicap in the effective functioning of the district police.

“Oomachikulam is one of the biggest sub-divisions in the State. With a National Highway cutting through the Tirumangalam sub-division, it is prone to road accidents, and taking care of the accident victims is a big challenge. Besides law and order problems surface in the sub-division all the time,” a police officer said.

The District Crime Branch assumes significance with the investigation into the multi-crore granite scam since it has to follow the 80 cases registered so far against illegal granite mining.

The officer said time was running out for filling these posts as the new officers, who assume charge, would have very little time to study those areas before facing the challenges of the two events.

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