Police begin anti-gangster drive in Thiruvalla

PATHANAMTHITTA, APRIL 24. The police have launched an extensive anti-gangster drive in and around Thiruvalla following reports of increasing instances of goonda activities in the locality, the District Superintendent of Police, Dindendra Kashyap, has said.

Talking to The Hindu here today, he said the Thiruvalla police had started identifying new goonda elements and were preparing history sheets on them. Most of these elements were residing in the neighbouring districts of Alappuzha and Kottayam.

Mr. Kashyap said these anti-social elements would be booked under CrPC-107 and they would be asked to give an undertaking not to indulge in any activities that would hamper peace and normal life in the locality. He said there were reports of stray incidents of clash between goonda gangs at some toddy shops and wayside eateries (thattukadas) in Thiruvalla.

There were also allegations of harassment of women at the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus station, private bus stand and at autorickshaw stands in the town in recent times. The police seized lethal weapons from an autorickshaw that turned turtle at the SCS Junction in Thiruvalla recently.

The police, during the investigation, had found that the autorickshaw was carrying four people who were on a `retaliatory mission' in connection with a fight at a toddy shop at Kavumbhagom near Thiruvalla on Monday night. The police had nabbed 10 persons owing allegiance to two goonda gangs in the locality on Wednesday in a combing operation following the incident, the SP said.

There were reports of increasing instances of anti-social elements harassing people in the town. A man who was waiting near the private bus stand along with his daughter was assaulted by a few anti-social elements when he protested against eve-teasing two months ago. All the accused in the incident were arrested, later.

A few weeks ago a policeman attached to the Armed Reserve camp in Pathanamthitta was stabbed by a goonda gang in Thiruvalla town. Ironically, the accused who eluded arrest had `obtained' anticipatory bail, later.

The railway station and adjoining areas were fast becoming a den of anti-social elements. The autorickshaw stand in front of the KSRTC station in the heart of the town was also said to be a haven of anti-social elements.

There are reports that the criminal activities in Thiruvalla town are an extension of similar activities in the neighbouring town of Changanacherry in Kottayam district. There were also reports that most of these gangsters are associated with the hooch trade and sand smuggling.

Mr. Kashyap said the police would launch a joint operation at various suspected anti-social hide-outs in certain sensitive areas on the borders of Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts as part of the drive to flush out criminal elements. He said the police would step up road-checks and night patrol, besides regulating the wayside eateries (thattukadas) in the district as part of the ongoing anti-gangster drive.

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