Change begins with one person, and Palghar-based Shailesh Bhatt took this seriously when he decided to take it upon himself to provide better security to the people in his area. Armed with a few powerful searchlights, Bhatt, 45, a contractor, patrols the streets of Palghar from midnight to dawn everyday the past decade to alert police on suspicious activities and protect the residents. For these efforts, Prashant Burdhe, Inspector General (IG), Konkan Range recently felicitated him with a certificate of appreciation.
Bhatt has helped Palghar police tackle hundreds of crime, including a daylight bank heist, cattle theft, kidnapping and other cases. Being victimsed himself, was what motivated Bhatt to help others. He was a victim of a dacoity in December 2007 when he was waylaid by thugs on a bike and assaulted. “That is when I decided to help the police in tackling crime.At that time, police patrolling was not much in the interiors of the city, and so I decided to take up the job of night patrolling and got permission from the then DSP, Thane Rural, Virendra Mishra,” said Bhatt.
“I usually start patrolling the area around midnight and continue till the first Virar-Surat shuttle arrives at Palghar, at around 4.30am,” he added. He sleeps for a few hours to do his main job as he professionally provides labourers to industrial units in Palghar and Boisar.
“I always carry a kit with different sizes of searchlights (each costing a minimum Rs4,000), a long rope, life jacket and other equipments. If any person needs help, my kit is ready,” he said.
Sharda Raut, SP, Palghar is all praises for Bhatt and has appreciated his efforts in detecting crime. “In fact, we have given him permission to accompany the Palghar police team on night patrol duty,” said Raut. This is one way Bhatt can live his childhood dream of becoming a police officer that he remained unfulfilled.