L. Srikrishna

`Soft pedalling' should go, raids against anti-socials needed

  • Police say the two murders are "stray" incidents related to gang rivalry
  • Police "should be given a free hand" irrespective of who is in power
  • Citizens feel the murders showed lack of preventive steps by the police

    CHENNAI: On Tuesday, a youth was brutally murdered by a gang in broad daylight opposite the Central railway station, one of the city's busiest points.

    Only a fortnight ago, a gang killed a middle-aged man at the busy Koyambedu junction at around 5 p.m.

    Investigations suggest it was a fall-out of gang rivalry.

    Though police officers claim the two murders are "stray" incidents related to gang rivalry, the crimes have raised many questions about the policing.

    The man on the street is baffled by the murders, which took place in busy parts of the city, in full public view and close to the offices of the custodians of law. Citizens feel the murders showed lack of preventive steps by the police. If rowdy gangs are not sternly dealt with, this could signal the beginning of a spurt in such brutal incidents, even some in the city police say.

    The `soft pedalling' attitude should change and police should crack down on anti-social elements to instil fear in the gangs.

    On Tuesday, the victim, Delhi Babu, was stabbed to death by the gang despite the possibility that it might find it difficult to make a getaway from such a public place.

    According to a law and order police officer, Delhi Babu indulged in extortion from petty traders in his area and terrorised the public.

    He was wanted in several criminal cases in the city and neighbouring areas. He had come out on bail only last month after being detained in connection with the murder of a rival gang member, Veera of Tondiarpet.

    Gangs also dabble in real estate property deals, the officer notes. With prices of vacant sites on East Coast Road going up, there are complaints of `threats' from anti-socials to many owners to part with their sites.

    Though police officers admit to such offences, they claim no complaints are registered, and hence they can't proceed.

    A senior officer says that whether it is the DMK or the AIADMK in power, the police should be given a free hand to deal with criminals.

    Political pressure should stop, if the law and order is to improve, he says.