The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has a huge jurisdiction of 900 sq km and its head office attracts people from across the city. However, the absence of a foolproof security system there appears to have become a cause for concern.
Significantly, some councillors have criminal antecedents or are related to those who have been arrested for alleged involvement in heinous crimes, including rape and murder.
Several businessmen, realtors and politicians, who are facing a threat to their lives, also visit the BBMP office regularly.
“Because of lack of security, these people prefer to carry their licensed weapons. However, there is no system to check if councillors with criminal antecedents are carrying illegal weapons. They are not granted arms licence till they are acquitted of all charges,” said a senior police official who did not want to be quoted.
The official said after the gram panchayat elections, four persons were murdered and around 30 people, mostly supporters of candidates, were injured during clashes between rival groups. “This may happen in BBMP premises also, given the lax security.
The councillors would have remained under [the radar] had they not been elected. They are now sitting ducks for rivals who can easily target them at the BBMP office,” the official added.
In fact, a section of the councillors as well as BBMP officials are concerned over this.
A lot of rivalry
The official added there is rivalry between various land developers and contractors who submit their bids to execute works worth crores. Stressing on the need to put in place a security system, he said the BBMP urgently needs metal detectors (both door-frame and hand-held), mirror trolley explosive detectors, sirens, baggage scanner, concealed weapon detectors, security briefcase, and CCTVs in all corners.
“Currently, the old building in the premises has 34 CCTVs, while the new one has none. The city corporations of Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Delhi all have in place security systems. The BBMP does not even have a hand-held metal detector.”
The police are shortly expected to write to Mayor S.K. Nataraj and Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena to take steps to upgrade security in the BBMP head office.
“We have also realised the gravity of the issue as a few councillors have criminal cases against them. We will meet with Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari soon for discussions,” Mr. Nataraj said.