Tough arm of law reaches out to goons | india | Hindustan Times
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Tough arm of law reaches out to goons

Babu walked into the Police Grounds at Nellore, chewing hard on his paan, bracing for the barrage of invectives the constables would greet him with. But surprise. Babu was welcomed with smiles, offered a seat and then some tea, reports Ashok Das.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2007 00:40 IST
Ashok Das

Babu walked into the Police Grounds at Nellore, chewing hard on his paan, bracing for the barrage of invectives the constables would greet him with. But surprise. Babu was welcomed with smiles, offered a seat and then some tea. What was wrong with these men, he thought to himself.

Babu soon realized that for the first time, the men in khaki were trying to get it right. Babu is a local ruffian – a rowdy-sheeter as the police files called him - who terrorised people and lived off the money he extorted. So if anything went wrong, Bapu would be the first to be summoned to the police station and grilled, at times the police even rained a few blows. He was among the 125-odd ‘rowdy-sheeters’ who participated in a police-sponsored 'mela' on Sunday.

It was Nellore’s new superintendent of district police K Laxmi Reddy who came up with the idea of such a mela, where Babu and others sat with station house officers and sub-inspectors. Reddy thought it would help the police if the ruffians were made to mend their ways.

At the end of the mela, where the case of each history-sheeter came up, the police realized that at least 30 of them had mended their ways. The SP then directed police stations to remove the names of these people from their records. “There was no point continuing the rowdy-sheet against them when they had changed their ways. By rounding them up, we were only humiliating them further,” Reddy said.

He said the mela had even inspired others on the police list to reform their ways. “We will keep a close watch on them and periodically assess their activities,” he said. Reddy has even promised to rehabilitate those who choose to opt out of crime.

Meanwhile, Babu doesn’t get have to dodge constables any more. He goes up to them and greets them with a smile.