Murders in public places leave citizens shaken

L. Srikrishna

Police say killings are a fallout of gang rivalry, bids to settle scores

CHENNAI: A number of murders that occurred in public places in the city last week have left residents shaken and the police embarrassed.

In one case, in T.P. Chattram police station limits, a four-member gang chased a 39-year-old man, identified as Murugan, and hacked him to death in daytime. Ignoring the people on the street, they chased and assaulted him with weapons.

The son of a retired police officer, Murugan was involved in a couple of criminal offences, police said.

Though the police claimed to have identified the killers, the murder in full public view is seen as a pointer to the lack of adequate monitoring of local gangs by the station house officers concerned, a senior police officer admitted.

Likewise, Ravi and Satish were done to death in Chetpet and MKB Nagar police station limits respectively. The police said it was a fallout of previous enmity.

In the case of Ravi, an auto driver, a gang chased him when he was returning home late in the evening from a movie with his wife and son.

On Saturday, 28-year-old Prashant of Tiruvanmiyur was killed by a gang near a temple around 7 p.m. The body was found inside a vehicle abandoned near a canal in Neelankarai.

Prashant had recently been released from prison after serving time under the Goondas Act.

Prashant’s friends

An officer in the Adyar police district said some of Prashant’s friends were involved in the incident and they had been identified. Police believe he was murdered over the sharing of money made from a land grabbing case.

Police Commissioner Letika Saran told reporters on Monday that except for one case of ‘murder for gain’ in Korattur, the others were due to previous enmity or out of revenge. She said that anti-social elements would not be spared and would face the might of the law. Night patrolling had been intensified and several people with a criminal background had been detained or forced to surrender in magistrate’s courts.

The murders, however, have left residents of the areas sceptical about police statements on keeping track of the movements of those released from prisons.

Advocate R.C. Paul Kanagaraj attributed such crimes to the influence of cinema. Chasing a person and hacking him to death is a premeditated act. Though police may claim the murders were retaliatory or an effort to settle scores, the manner in which many of them were executed has raised doubts over the claims of effective law and order policing, he said.

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