Two broad daylight murders during the past two months, regular snatching incidents and a murderous attack on vice-president of the Punjab Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh Brig Jagdish Gagneja (retd) on Saturday, the heart of the city that comes under the jurisdiction of police station-4 has become a hotbed of criminals.
The spot where bike-borne assailants shot at retired brigadier Gagneja near the Red Cross market was just a few meters from the permanent police checking point at the Jyoti Chowk. Three to four policemen always remain at the police booth established at the chowk.
On Saturday night, there was also a naka at the Skylark chowk from where the attackers fled after firing Gagneja.
Rainak Bazaar, civil hospital, Saidan Gate, Milap Chowk, Phagwara Gate, Jyoti Chowk to Nakodar Chowk, Doordarshan Kendra, Skylark Chowk to Guru Nanak Mission Chowk, Gymkhana Club, old Baradari locality, civil lines, Dilkusha Market, Company Bagh Chowk to BMC Chowk and other areas come under the jurisdiction of police station-4.
On June 3, when two unidentified assailants gunned down money-changer Anil Kumar Billa in his Toyota Fortuner near the Company Bagh Chowk in full public view around 10.30 am, a flag march was being conducted by the police near the spot. The incident had raised questions on the functioning of the city police.
The cops at the Company Bagh Chowk also failed to notice the crime. It was only a bank employee, who raised an alarm after the murder. The case is yet to be solved.
On July 21, 26-year-old youth Rimple was shot dead near Dhobi Ghat by some car-borne assailants in the evening in full public view. Two days after the murder, the police had arrested property dealer Gagan Sidana of BSF Colony, Sumit Nayyar alias Bawa of Basti Guzan, Amit Kumar Goldy of Gulab Devi road and others for the crime.
Besides, snatching incidents take place regularly in these areas and most of the victims are those who come to the markets for the shopping. A few days ago, bikeborne youths snatched a purse from an NRI woman outside V-Mart when ADCP (traffic) Ravinder Pal Singh Sandhu was giving instructions to PCR bikers at the Jyoti Chowk.
Rohit Sharma, a Maqdoompura resident, said that police should increase patrolling and CCTV cameras in these areas to keep a tab on the criminals.
A senior official of the city police claimed that police station-4 has most crucial and important areas in its jurisdiction. He said that there is the need to take strict steps for improving policing in these areas.