From The Editor’s Desk: The Commissionerate Police is facing a daunting task to maintain law and order in the twin city Bhubaneswar and Cuttack and thus, sending a wrong signal to the entire state. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is in charge of Home department, has drawn flak for his inability to deal with the crisis. Adding insult to injury, the reported spat between DGP Sanjeev Marik and Police Commissioner Dr. RP Sharma, has added to the woes of common people as well as the ruling establishment.
While murder and robbery have become a regular phenomenon in the twin city, the crime network is spreading fast to other areas in the state, including the Coastal, South and Western parts of Odisha. However, the common people had reasons to be worried in a greater degree, when a Retd. Justice’s house was raided by the dacoits at the gun point and just a week after, another group of burglars looted an Advocate’s house in the same area in Cuttack. The big question arises–Are we safe? And, this question is being asked by every citizen, not only in the twin city, but also across Odisha.
If the recent cases of theft, robbery, atrocities on women, sex rackets and burglary were not enough, the Commissionerate Police received a major setback, when its cops were chased down and beaten black and blue by a group of slum dwellers in Haladipada area of Laxmisagar. They mostly comprised of women, led by ‘Lady Don’ Saila Ranasingh. It was a big embarrassment for the police force. The Saila Ranasingh episode opened a Pandora’s Box. It was alleged that she received political patronage from the ruling establishments for long and has been calling the shots in her slum.
Saila Ranasingh is not an exception. Many such goons and dons do exist in each and every slum of Bhubaneswar. They garner votes for the politicians, silence them with the favor and then indulge in crime and criminal activities to achieve their end goal. The Odisha Government must self-introspect and find the answers to the following questions. This is not a propaganda against any party, government or individual. Instead, we need to be alert and cautious and undo our mistakes (if any) for a better future.
- Why Dons like Saila Ranasingh are being allowed to hold Kangaroo Courts and run the show in many slums across Bhubaneswar.
- Do they enjoy political patronage from the ruling establishment or even from strong opposition leaders?
- Why do they get ‘easily available’ manpower (slum dwellers) to launch daring attacks and engage them in other crime and criminal activities?
- Is there a need to stop many populist schemes and freebies, which may have driven many ‘idle people’ towards crime? Have these people become ‘soft targets’ for the criminals and dons?
These questions are just a tip of the iceberg. Many such questions remain unanswered over the last decade or so. There is no accountability and transparency from the bottom to the top in case of depleting law and order situation across the state. Situation is going out of control with each passing day. But, unfortunately, we are forced to watch things worsening as a sitting duck. The Odisha Police looks directionless while the leaders are unable to lead from the front. Are we heading towards chaos and anarchy? Hope, not! It will be a disaster for the state if that happens.