Sangliana allays fears on census for slum-dwellers

BANGALORE, DEC. 27. The City police do not intend to violate the rights of slum-dwellers by conducting a census and that the exercise is aimed at protecting the rights of the innocent among them, the City Police Commissioner, Mr. H.T. Sangliana, has said.

Concerned over the adverse reaction to the proposed move, Mr. Sangliana told presspersons here today that while the innocent slum-dwellers would feel protected, the criminal elements among them would desist from committing offences once the census was undertaken. The practice was followed at some places in the United States, Mr. Sangliana said and indicated that the process here might involve all residents of the City in the long run.

He said the police intended to rope in non-governmental organisations, the Slum Clearance Board, and the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike in the census exercise. Slum-dwellers would be taken into confidence before their details, including fingerprints, were collected, Mr. Sangliana said.

Mr. Munirathnam Naidu, Inspector, Cubbon Park Police Station, said that his experience in criminal investigation had revealed that more than 75 per cent of the offences such as theft, house-breaking, and drug trafficking were committed by slum-dwellers.

On the controversy over this recent statement over giving gun licence, Mr. Sangliana said the victims' rights should always prevail over those of the criminals. Allaying apprehensions that the licence would be given to all and sundry, Mr. Sangliana made it clear that the provisions of the Indian Arms Act would be strictly followed in this regard.

Everybody could not afford to have a pistol/revolver or a rifle as they were costly. Only persons who faced a real threat could afford them, he said. The deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) would recommend the issue of licenses only after a thorough study of the background of the applicant, he added.

Mr. Sangliana said there were 13,870 licence holders in the City and among them 1,282 had not bought guns. Rights are violated in the form of commission of various offences through unlicensed arms and not through licensed weapons, he pointed out. A person possessing a licensed weapon would feel confident of protecting himself and members of his family in the event of an attack, he said. The Joint Commissioner of Police, (Administration), Mr. Jeevankumar Gaonkar, was present.