Assault against cops on the rise in Pune

In the last three years, 160 cases of assault have been registered in the city against civilians for manhandling people in uniform; 64 in the last 10 months

The deterrence of police and government authority is declining in the city, as statistics indicate the number of cases of assaults and manhandling of public servants by civilians are increasing every year. At present, there are around 600 pending cases in courts, with mere 0.1 per cent conviction rate and 2 per cent acquittal rate.

Policemen have been on the receiving end specially during night patrolling. Representation Pic

The statistics have set off alarm bells, as similar incidents continue in the city. On Tuesday night, two police officers, Ganesh Chinchkar and Kalpesh Babar, sustained head injuries when three men pelted stones at them near Katraj Chowk. A source in the police department said, “We have a gun, but no authority to use it, even when there are cases of assault or riots in our jurisdiction. If we do end up using our weapon without permission, we have to then go through a lengthy inquiry. What’s more, most times when we try to register a case against attackers, our seniors, under pressure from politicians, tell us not to proceed with the FIR.”

Traffic cops
Cops under attack: According to Assistant Commissioner of Police Prasad Hasabnis, in most cases of assault, the victims are cops on night patrolling duty or traffic cops trying to nab violators to fine them. File pic for representation

According to city police statistics, in 2012, 70 public servants were allegedly manhandled, out of which 34 were police officers. The incidents against officers increased to 53 in 2013, and this year, in the last 10 months (till October), the number has already reached 62. Out of the 600 cases pending trial in district and sessions courts, 80 per cent are related to policemen.

ACP(Crime II) Prasad Hasabnis said, “In most incidents, cops who are manhandled are usually on night duty, when we attend calls at the control room. Other cases are related to traffic cops, when they try to nab violators and fine them. Most victims are constables and female officers.”

Former DGP Ajit Parasnis, said, “In the past, policing was considered a respectable job and citizens would obey their instructions. But now I feel that the situation has changed, especially due to political influence. When citizens see influential people not respecting cops, they also follow their footsteps. There should be stringent measures taken by the government to overcome the issue.”

Government District Pleader, Ujjwala Pawar, says, “The section 353 of IPC is bailable and when these cases come up for hearing, the sole testimony of the police officer is not sufficient. The court also studies circumstantial evidence, and sections applied against the accused. Witnesses also tend to turn hostile and, as a result, the acquittal rate is high.”

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