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Burn, damage, smash! Vandals’ common target is vehicles on Pune streets

Police probe reveals culprits, mostly youngsters or juvenile delinquents, often do it for petty reasons like fights with spouses and parents, and business failures.

pune Updated: Jan 22, 2018 16:31 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
The rising number of vehicle vandalism in Pune city and its suburbs now has residents worried with the police failing to keep anti-social elements in check.(HT PHOTO)

Police investigation has revealed that people who indulge in vehicle vandalism in the city often do it for petty reasons including fights with spouses and parents, and business failures. It was also found that in a majority of cases, the accused were youngsters or juvenile delinquents.

Many-a-time, petty reasons like fights between mother and father prompt teens to set vehicles alight while loss is business and subsequent frustration and petty fights between neighbours living in residential societies were also reported as the major reasons behind vehicle vandalism in the city. Another bizarre find was that in many vehicle burning cases, the accused were trying to steal petrol from the vehicle’s petrol tanks. Besides these, reasons like groups enmity and political rivalry have also emerged as the prime reasons behind vandals setting vehicles on fire.

The rising number of vehicle vandalism in Pune city and its suburbs now has residents worried with the police failing to keep anti-social elements in check. The crime registration statistics of city commissionerate state that as many as 350 vehicles were vandalised in different parts of Pune in the past two years. Out of them, more than 300 vehicles were found to be burnt by miscreants. Vehicle vandalism basically involves either burning or destruction of two or four-wheelers including cars, autos and tempos by miscreants, according to the police.

On the very first day of the new year, six vehicles were vandalised in Bibvewadi, Market Yard, Dattawadi and Shivane localities. On January 14, as many as 20 vehicles were vandalised by irate youths in Ramnagar and Bapuji Buwa chowk in Warje. In the next few days, miscreants smashed windscreens of five cars in Bhosari.

Taking into account the losses being incurred by citizens, the Pune police had taken a major step in 2016 and booked miscreants under the stringent provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in connection with vehicle vandalism in Khadki. Off late, the police are also booking the accused under Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities (MPDA) Act but residents say that it is not proving to be effective in stopping the vehicle vandalism menace. Former director general of police (DGP) Praveen Dixit too had taken a serious cognisance of the vehicle vandalism in the city and had asked the city police for a complete crackdown on those involved in such cases.

ACP (Crime II) Sanjay Nikam explained that vehicle vandalism was a serious issue affecting residents and is being dealt with strongly. “We have identified the areas which are prone to such cases and have intensified police patrolling. This is a subject of massive public and social impact and has become a fad amongst youth who get agitated and resort to unwanted violence by damaging public property,” he said.

Nikam further added that were no repeated offenders involved in the cases registered. “The violence is being looked at as an alternate to stone pelting by the youth. Gangsters and criminals are not doing this. It is mostly the youth and juvenile delinquents who are indulging in such crimes. This is a very serious issue that needs to be stopped,” he added.

First Published: Jan 22, 2018 15:03 IST