The death of traffic police head constable Vilas Shinde on Wednesday was the latest reminder of the risks that policemen face in the line of duty.
Data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on Tuesday revealed that on police deaths in 2015, Maharashtra – with 64 – trailed only Uttar Pradesh (152).
Of the 64 policemen who died in Maharashtra, 59 were killed in accidents, two died in operations against terrorists and extremists, and three were killed by criminals other than terrorists.
Other states with large numbers of police deaths in 2015 included Gujarat (62), Haryana (57), Chhattisgarh (55), and Tamil Nadu (49); 721 policemen died across India in 2015.
Maharashtra also had the highest number of injured policemen in 2015, with 370. Of these, 163 were injured by rioting mobs. The other major causes of injuries were accidents (102), operations against terrorists and extremists (66), and attacks by other criminals (34).
A former high-ranking officer said most policemen on duty lack arms and ammunition but citizens can help prevent attacks on them. “Policemen being injured in riots is a serious issue. This can be tackled by implementing the police mitra (friends of the police) scheme. Under it, citizens can sign up to help policemen on duty. For example, if traffic policemen are assisted by four or five people, attacks can be minimised as policemen are most vulnerable when they are alone,” said Pravin Dixit, who was director general of Maharashtra in 2015.