State Reserve Police Force personnel guarding communally sensitive Durgadi Fort were warned not to sleep on the job; when they paid no heed, Kalyan policeman gave them a lesson they won't forget in a hurry
They had one job — guard the communally sensitive Durgadi Fort in Kalyan, which has religious significance for both Hindus and Muslims and has witnessed riots in the past. But the 17 State Reserve Police Force personnel on night duty were often found to be sleeping on their job.
An SRPF guard mans the communally sensitive Durgadi Fort, which has religious significance for both Hindus and Muslims
On Thursday morning, however, when they woke up from their slumber, the platoon was shocked to find that all 17 rifles kept in the security cabin were missing. Petrified, they rushed to the Bazarpeth police station to complain about the robbery.
The cops are always stationed at the Durgadi Fort in Kalyan (W) as it is a communally sensitive area
After sweating them for a few minutes, the Bazarpeth Senior Police Inspector Dilip Suryawanshi told the shamefaced SRPF men that it was his men who had taken away the rifles as the snoring platoon had left the cabin door ajar.
The platoon on Thursday afternoon got its weapons back, but not before the Kalyan police prepared a report detailing their negligence and sent it to their boss. The platoon men are now on tenterhooks wondering what punishment they will be given. Sources told mid-day that the SRPF men’s negligence was common knowledge and they have been warned several times.
Sources said though it may look comical, the security implications of the SRPF’s negligence were huge. The historic Durgadi Fort has a temple, which thousands of devotees visit every day. It also has an area where Muslims offer prayers. A year ago, a woman entered the temple in a burqa, which led to communal tension.
“And imagine if anti-social elements had stolen the rifles and used them to commit crimes?” said an officer. “Even Suryawanshi’s ‘shock treatment’ came because only two days ago, the area DCP had caught the SRPF men sleeping and had warned them. The DCP also told Suryawanshi to keep an eye on the SRPF while on his night rounds. So imagine his shock when he saw these guys sleeping just two days after the dressing down by the DCP.”
When Suryawanshi went to inspect the cabin, he saw it was unlocked and kept open. Appalled by the negligence of the SRPF men, he ordered his staff to collect all the rifles and take them to the police station.
“The SRPF men did not know what hit them,” said an officer.
“They searched all over for the missing rifles and came to the station to file a complaint. They were first relieved that the rifles were in safe hands. But they got worried when Suryawanshi told them a departmental inquiry will be initiated against them and sent to higher authorities.”
When mid-day contacted SRPF Commandant Nisar Tamboli, he was not aware of the incident and pointed us to DCP, Kalyan Division, Sanjay Jadhav. Jadhav confirmed the incident to mid-day.
DCP Jadhav had caught the SRPF men napping and warned them a few days ago. “Jadhavji warned them and left, asking them to take care of their belonging, which can be misused if it fell in the wrong hands,” said an officer. “We wanted to teach them a lesson and hence we took their rifles.”
Mubarak Panjashe, the commandant of the Kalyan unit of SRPF, alleged that the local police robbed their rifles. He added that they will lodge a complaint with the commissioner of police. Parambir Singh, Commissioner of Police, Thane said, “The SRPF officers were careless and kept the rifles in the open. It could have fallen into the wrong hands. We will write about the negligence and carelessness of the officers to the SRPF chief, so that action is taken.”