The Nithari killings may be the biggest crime that the Noida police chose to ignore for a long time. But it is not the only one.
Statistics on the police's own website show that Gautam Budh Nagar district — of which Noida forms the larger part — saw a murder every fourth day in 2006. Only half of the 105 unknown dead bodies found here since March 2006 have been identified. In less than two years 169 people have gone missing. Yet, the police remain unfazed.
Senior Superintendent of Police RKS. Rathore said he was surprised by the figures quoted, and he would have to check them first. After two days of 'checking', he told the Hindustan Times on Saturday: "The number of murders this year has shot up due to Nithari. Before the 17 Nithari-related murder cases were added to the list, there had been only 67 murders. That was a marginal increase over 2005, in which we registered 60 murders." That still means a citizen is murdered every six days.
"It is not too alarming because there have been no cases of organised crime. Two kidnappings were reported last year and both cases were solved by the police," Rathore said. Another police official said the unidentified dead were "often cases of suicide or accidents. Many died of natural causes too, but we registered a case each time."
Despite the police's claims, the residents feel unsafe. "The law and order culture here is that of Uttar Pradesh. We feel unsafe in this environment. We have been requesting the state government for a separate policing system for the last four years but our appeals have gone unheard," said Sushil Aggarwal, former president of the Federation of Residents' Welfare Associations, Noida. Delhi-based garment exporter Atamjit Singh had left his Defence Colony home in Delhi to live in Noida's Sector 29. "In six months, I sold my house in Noida and moved back to Delhi. It's not safe. It isn't what they make it out to be," said Singh.