Marri Ramu

Morning walkers, women taking children to schools targeted

Many cases reported from areas close to Home Minister's residence

Police teams use old bikes, while offenders ride

high-speed vehicles

HYDERABAD: Controlling crime against women is a top priority, proclaimed P. Sabitha Indra Reddy when she got the Home portfolio, thus becoming the first woman in the history of the State to head the Ministry exactly a year ago.

Whether the Minister succeeded in achieving the goals is a moot point, but policemen certainly are at sea on controlling chain snatchings – in which mostly women are the victims- in the capital. Snatchers struck more than 100 times within first four months of the year in the jurisdiction of S.R. Nagar, Punjagutta, Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills police stations.

Police outwitted

Interestingly, Ms. Reddy's residence is in the Banjara Hills police station area where a good numbers of snatchings were committed within two to 3 km radius of it. Yet, police have been neither able to control the offences nor catch the culprits. As the bike-riding offenders continued to strike at will, alarmed police top brass tried every means -- from stepping up patrolling to deploying special teams at vulnerable localities -- only to be outwitted. In one instance, the policemen nearly closed in on a snatcher fleeing on a bike, but the latter managed to give the slip by intermingling with the moving traffic. “Our Blue Colt and Rakshak teams riding old bikes reaching the condemned stage are unable to chase because the snatchers are on high speed bikes of 150 cc and vanish within seconds,” an investigator said. Bajaj black Pulsar bike was used in many offences.

By April-end, figures of snatchings reached 103. S.R. Nagar police station having maximum number of residential localities topped the list with 39, followed by Punjagutta-27, Banjara Hills-20 and Jubilee Hills-17.

The main road from Satya Sai Nigamagamam in Srinagar Colony to Krishnanagar crossroads to Yousufguda junction, which is a home to several middle class families, is the favourite stretch for snatchers.

They are targeting morning walkers and women taking children to schools and also when children are brought home. Mainly they are striking between 7.30 p.m. and 11.30 p.m. using fake number plates on their bikes to avoid being tracked