LAW &ORDER A majority of the minor crimes such as thefts often are not registered, writes R.Ilangovan

The city's crime graph shows a refreshingly low curve. It claims the detection and recovery of theft cases are encouragingly high compared to last year.

These statistics sourced at the Police department tell a rosy picture . And thereby hangs a tale that talks about the `suitable additions and deletions' that reportedly go into the `making' of a comprehensive statistical study on city's crimes.

The crime watchers are reluctant to buy these claims. They believe that there is something more to it than meets the eye.

They claim that the crime chart would have presented a different picture had the station officers in many police stations were not averse to the registering of complaints.

They say that a majority of the minor crimes such as thefts of mobile phones, bi-cycles, mopeds, minor scuffles, hurt cases and public nuisance, which the law quotes as illegal, often are not registered. The station officers generally discourage the victims from preferring complaints.

If insisted, they would register complaints under Section 379 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and inform the court that they were unable to trace stolen goods. But registering the complaints and failing to detect them will only boost the crime ratio, which senior officials despise.

A station officer, who prefers anonymity , says that many are reluctant to register complaints on minor crimes on pressure from higher officials who want to project the city as crime-free. "We note down the case details in a separate notebook and inform the complainants if we find stolen goods. Petty scuffles and hurt cases will be settled in station itself." he says.

But of late a few station officers are averse to registering even crimes of serious nature. The recent incidents have endorsed this claim. The policemen in the Hospital Outpost Police station reportedly refused to register a complaint when a group of outsiders allegedly manhandled the doctors of the Government Medical College Hospital on the hospital premises.

A warning from the doctors that they would be resorting to an indefinite strike forced the policemen to register the complaint after five days of delay.

In another incident a Dalit youth was beaten in a city hospital. According to the harassed Dalit, the men at the Police station refused to register his complaint immediately. "Instead of bringing them before the law, a few station officers prefer "amicable settlements" in a few serious issues too," claims Asokan, a city-based lawyer here.

But a senior police official dismisses theses claims as "far-fetched." Though accepting that a few "bad things" would take place here and there, he says that every incident is being monitored closely for proper follow-up. .