Delhi biker's death: crackdown or overkill?

Saturday night’s shooting on the streets of the national capital has divided opinions sharply and forced many to question if the police’s reaction was undue. Poll:Have you ever faced stunt biking menace in your city?
Hindustan Times | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 29, 2013 03:49 PM IST

Saturday night's shooting near Le Meridien hotel has divided opinions sharply with a number of people questioning whether the police's reaction was excessive.

"The police's story that they were aiming for the bike's tyre does not hold water. It doesn't matter what stunt the boys were trying to execute, the back will never be lower than the tyre. It seems that the cops did not take a sensible decision," said Dunu Roy, social scientist and director, Hazard Centre.

According to Roy, the city lacks places where youngsters under stress can let off some steam.

"In a number of western nations, there are designated areas for bikers to try out stunts and perform, albeit with proper security gear. Instead of making these things illegal, we should designate areas for such activities. Also, the signal-free roads in VIP areas that do not see much traffic attract these bikers. Going signal-free has its own problems," said Roy.

Former commissioner of Police, Ajay Raj Sharma, also expressed his shock at the incident.

"During my entire career, I have never heard of the police shooting at bikers. Bikers are a hazard no doubt and if they turned violent, they certainly needed to be stopped. The quantum of force used, however, will have to explained and justified," Sharma said.

"Shooting at the tyre of a moving vehicle is a very difficult job and it seems like a freak shot hit the boy," he added.

The police, however, tried to justify the reaction with special commissioner of police (law and order), Deepka Mishra terming the incident "unfortunate".

According to another senior officer associated with the investigation, "Groups of bikers are fast becoming a major law and order challenge and need to be stopped. This is the reason why there were 200-odd extra personnel posted in the area at the time of the incident. In fact, the total number of picket points set up in the area solely to tackle them was 43. The personnel involved were just doing their job. The objective was not to kill but to deter."

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