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PCMC residents live in fear as vehicle vandalism becomes favourite sport of gangs

On Saturday night, a petty dispute between two friends resulted in vehicle vandalism in Nigdi. Their motive seems to be spreading terror among residents and establishing supremacy of their gangs.

pune Updated: Jul 23, 2018 17:05 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,PCMC,crime
On Saturday night, a petty dispute between two friends resulted in vehicle vandalism, wherein seven vehicles, mostly autorickshaws and cabs, were damaged by a group of eight youngsters.(HT PHOTO)

Pimpri-Chinchwad has been witnessing many events of mass vandalism, of late. These incidents usually involve youngsters, especially juveniles, who take law into their hands. Their motive seems to be spreading terror among residents and establishing supremacy of their gangs.

On Saturday night, a petty dispute between two friends resulted in vehicle vandalism, wherein seven vehicles, mostly autorickshaws and cabs, were damaged by a group of eight youngsters. Somnath Bharat Shinde (25), a resident of Ajanthanagar has lodged a complaint with Nigdi police station in this regard.

The latest incident only indicates how Pimpri-Chinchwad is turning out to be haven for vehicle vandals. This also showcases the falling standards of policing and collapsing law and order in the city. (HT PHOTO)

Police inspector Shankar Awtade said that two friends had fought over a petty issue on Saturday afternoon, following which one of the aggrieved persons came along with a few of his friends and indulged in vehicle vandalism in Ajantanagar area on Saturday night. The mob had to flee when residents raised an alarm. The group was armed with choppers, swords, sticks and other sharp-edged weapons.

“They wanted to spread terror in the area and establish their supremacy. The residents were terror -struck initially, but raised an alarm later, ” Awtade added. The residents demanded arrest of the accused involved in the case

The latest incident only indicates how Pimpri-Chinchwad is turning out to be haven for vehicle vandals. This also showcases the falling standards of policing and collapsing law and order in the city. It is only apt that Pimpri-Chinchwad is getting a new police commissionerate, which will be operational from August 15. Residents have time and again complained about such incidents. Rajendra Sonawane, former additional director general of police, said, “There are such people who want to spread terror and panic in the society. Such criminals should be punished severely. The local police are doing their best in curbing the menace, but they cannot do much alone.”

Activists have warned that residents are already reeling under the terror unleashed by the marauding armed youths. “It shows the complete failure of police in providing security to the residents,” said advocate Harjeet Singh, a civil rights campaigner, working for association of city NGOs.

Pune Police will counsel the accused youth involved in vandalism, says DCP, zone III

Ganesh Shinde, deputy commissioner of police, zone III. (HT PHOTO)

Ganesh Shinde, deputy commissioner of police, zone III, has been tackling the crime menace in the industrial township of Pimpri Chinchwad. Concerned about the safety of citizens in the area, he has recently launched ‘operation all out’ to flush out criminals and make the area safe for citizens. In a tete-e-tete with Nadeem Inamdar, he opens up about the steps being taken by the police to curb criminal activities.

Why are youth indulging in mindless vehicle vandalism ?

The accused arrested in such cases are mostly juveniles and they come out on bail. In cases of adults, we charge them under stricter sections. It has become a mass psyche to destruct vehicles even over petty issues. This is especially true in case of juvenile deliquents. Once juveniles are freed by the court, they are helped by criminals and the former think they have achieved something in life. They are not afraid of law. We want to sensitise them about the law and the pitfalls that follow. We don’t want them to become criminals and eventually lose the next generation from slums to crime.

What are your immediate plans to change the psyche of the youth ?

Our focus will be on counselling the youth. We are tackling the adults involved in such cases with an iron fist. We have taken strong steps and have invoked strong sections against the offenders. We are going to identify juveniles and repeat offenders in each of the chowki areas and will counsel them by taking help from prominent criminal psychologists. The biggest challenge is to help them develop the right frame of mind and prevent them from becoming criminals. This is a major corrective action which will be taken by the Pune Police to prevent younger generation from taking to crime. We are positive about it and are sure that this initiative will wean away youth from the acts of vandalism.

What others steps are being initiated to stop the incidents ?

We have intensified police patrolling and the officers at the police stations have been informed about strong action that needs to be taken against the culprits. We appeal to the citizens to follow the law. They must not indulge in acts of vandalism and destruction at any cost.

First Published: Jul 23, 2018 16:56 IST