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Poll-time vigil leads to dip in crime rate


Visible policing has discouraged law offenders from committing crimes, writes L. Srikrishna




A team of officials led by Collector U. Sagayam checking a car in the city recently.

The Temple City is unusually calm — this is the general impression of a majority of residents and traders in Madurai. Usually, select police stations in the city used to report on crimes such as chain-snatching, burglary in night or day, attempt to murder or sometimes even murder or murder for gain at regular intervals.

Visible policing had, to a great extent, discouraged law offenders from committing crimes, police said. “Flying squads and surveillance teams are mostly on the move. Along with the police, the revenue authorities coordinate with the control rooms and act swiftly.”

Public too

Apart from this, alert public also pass information to law enforcing agencies since the numbers are published in the media. The other night, the first call to the Collector U. Sagayam, after he assumed office in Madurai, was from a member of the public. The tip-off led a posse of police and revenue staff to the seizure of Rs. 20 lakh near Koodal Nagar, a police officer said.

Seizure of cash and arrest of the accused have been reported in sensitive localities such as Sellur, Jaihindpuram, Subramaniapuram, Anna Nagar, and Tallakulam in the city. According to the data available with the city police, as on date, they had registered 101 cases and seized Rs. 1,42,846 in cash since the model code of conduct came into force. The party-wise complaints are: DMK (66), AIADMK (13), Congress (3), MDMK (7), DMDK (3), PMK (1), MMK (1) and others 7. The complaints include cash-for-votes which account for 14 cases — all booked against DMK cadres.

Till polling day, the focus would be on checks and providing bandobust to candidates canvassing for votes. Of course, the officials have complaints of overdose of work as they have to be on their toes whenever they are tipped off about money being circulated or “likely to be distributed,” an official, a meber of the surveillance team in Jaihindpuram, said. Though the pro-active approach of the Election Commission of India had facilitated in a big way in curbing money flow and enforcing model code of conduct, the officials are facing constant pressure from representatives of political parties.

The other day, at a DMK public meeting, some speakers blatantly accused the officials of acting in a partial manner and went on saying that they would not leave the matter or forget it, a senior official said. “We are discharging our duties as per the Election Commission guidelines as failure to implement it will also equally affect us. We are caught in a tricky situation.”

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