Not long ago, Noida was better known as India’s wild west. Three-year-old Anant Gupta’s kidnapping has put the spotlight back on the security scenario in the suburb – his father on Friday said he was living in a jungle.
Naresh Gupta said it was surprising how two men on a motorcycle could so easily snatch his son on a busy Monday morning in the presence of a number of security guards. “It is for RWAs and residents of Noida to decide what they want. I am living in a jungle. We have to put a security system in place urgently,” he said.Senior police officers and residents feel that if the police in UP is not modernized immediately, the future will be bleak for them.
Noida’s notorious past: Noida along with Ghaziabad, Meerut and Bulandshahar was a rich belt — productivity was high in the area. “This attracted extortionists and kidnappers and the areas of operations of gangs operating from these places stretched as far as Delhi, Rajasthan and Haryana,” says O.P. Singh, IG (CRPF) who has served in a number of sensitive posts in UP. It was during his tenure as SSP, Bulandshahar when UP Police shot dead gangster Mahender Fauji in 1994. “Such was Fauji’s terror that immediately after his death, property prices shot up,” says Singh.
Soft targets: “Earlier it was doctors and engineers who were targeted by extortionists. IT professionals are the new domain. Whosoever is wealthy is made the target,” says Singh. Police feel that with a number of well-to-do Delhiites shifting to Noida, gangs are thriving.
Why goons have a free run: D.K. Garg, chairman, Ishan Institute of Management & Technology, Greater Noida, said, “People don’t go to police stations to file complaints as they don’t trust the police. Local goons keep issuing threats to institute owners for admissions and extortion. It has become difficult to run educational institutes here.”
Mahesh Saxena, general secretary, Noida Lok Manch, said, “Police manipulate crime figures. Only 20 per cent cases reported are registered. Victims prefer to bear the loss silently to avoid unnecessary harassment.”