People accuse police of high handedness in ‘Mangaluru suraksha drive’

People who were accused of needlessly wandering on Friday night in Mangaluru were rounded off by the police.   | Photo Credit: Raghava M.

A group of five students claimed that they played football at the Balmatta ground and had come to a tea stall to drink tea at about 9 p.m. on Friday night. A group of city police then picked them up in a vehicle and brought them to the mini Town Hall.

“We play every day and don’t create any nuisance daily. We were just picked up and brought here for no reason,” one of the students said. With no cash or mobile phone, the five students were forced to walk all the way after the police released them after taking their names and address.

A final year Bachelor of Food Technology student of a college in the central part of the city, who was not part of the five-member group of students, claimed that he had finished his studies and had come to drink lime tea at Balmatta when police picked him up and took to the town hall. “I am really hurt by the way I was treated by the police,” he said.

These were among the 100-odd people picked up by police as part of ‘Manglauru Suraksha drive’ against people consuming alcohol and smoking in public late in the night. They are also rounding up those wandering on the road and those found on the beach during the late hours.

Many claimed that they were wrongly picked by the police on Saturday. “I had offloaded some goods at Kottara Chowki and had come to a hotel in Lalbagh along with my driver to pack dinner. While driver managed to escape and go away with the lorry, I was caught by police around 9 p.m. and brought here. I do not have any money and I do not know where to go,” said Lakshmana from Kalaburagi, who was waiting outside the gate in Town Hall. There were a few labourers like Lakshmana who had been brought to the mini Town Hall.

Four youths, who had just finished their field survey for a cigarette firm, were also picked up from Bejai. “It hurts when a police officer says that we will be rounded up if there is chain theft in our area. This is not the way we should be looked upon,” said the 21-year-old man, who hails from Udupi.

Some expressed their ire over police leaving them on street late in the night when there is hardly any vehicle to reach distant parts of the city they live in.

Police Commissioner N. Shashi Kumar said the drive is to act against persons creating nuisance at public places by consuming liquor and smoking. “This drive is to stop unnecessary late night wandering. Apart from stopping acts of public nuisance, we are preventing attacks and other crimes in the wee hours,” he said. The police will not target those returning home after work and houseless labourers, who stay on the pavement and other public places, he said.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 7:06:47 AM |

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