MANGALORE: It is indeed a bad time to be a criminal, especially with underworld links in this part of the world, in recent times. Ever since a special squad of the Western Range police nabbed D-Company hitman Rashid Malbari and his henchmen on March 29, 2009 and foiled a bid to commit extortion by kidnapping and assassination of prominent persons, the graph of organized crime has nose-dived, leaving the men in khaki a relieved lot.
A quick perusal of numbers post-Malbari arrest tells its own story. Police in the district have accounted for 146 criminals with `alleged' underworld links and recovered around 43 firearms from their possession. This, says police commissioner Gopal B Hosur, is significant in that the main intent of the criminals arrested was to foment communal discord in a major way by targeting prominent personalities of either religious communities.
Hosur told STOI that a lot more can be done to keep the underworld elements firmly under the thumb. "By and large, we are successful in thwarting designs of fugitive underworld bosses, who seek to spread their reign of terror from abroad," he said. The unemployed youths of the region come in handy for them to carry out their nefarious designs. "Money and thrills of organized crime is a heady cocktail for these youth," he observes.
On reasons for increasing police success in cracking down on organized crime, Hosur opines, is primarily because of vastly improved law and order situation in communally-volatile Dakshina Kannada. "Police get a lot more time on their hands to investigate cases when there is no law and order situation to deal with," he says. "A lot more tact and time is needed in dealing with extortion related cases, which are more local," he adds.
Apportioning equal responsibility for the civil society to help the police in dealing with organized crime, and maintenance of law and order, Hosur says, "It is strange that builders, most often targeted by underworld with extortion related calls, do not lodge a complaint." Builders as a body must set aside their professional rivalries and stand united and stronger to counter threats facing their community rather than succumb to it, he adds.
The home minister V S Acharya observes that there is a definite strategy on part of the state police to take on organized crime. Not outlining this strategy, Acharya recently told STOI that the results are there for all to see. Hosur feels it is the faith reposed by the department on young officers to take on the underworld, which is yielding rich dividends. "It is their determination and our guidance that is winning the battle for us," he adds. firstname.lastname@example.org