When it comes to nabbing the most formidable criminals, cops from Turbhe police station in Navi Mumbai are second to none. But, the same officers are living in fear these days. They can be witnessed frequently banging their lathis on the floors and habitually checking their chairs and vehicles before settling down.
There’s good reason for this seemingly inexplicable behaviour: at least 12 snakes have been caught from the police station in the past five months. “I cannot forget the snakes even after reaching home. The reptiles even invade my dreams,” said a constable. Earlier, officials had constable Sunil Borade trained by forest officers to catch the serpents, but increasing incidents forced them to deploy ‘Sarpa Mitra’ Rohan Nimbalkar.
Nimbalkar (27) often visits the police station and is also called by cops in times of emergency. “I have rescued at least 12 snakes in five months from the police station compound. Among them, eight were cobras. I have imparted a short training course to cops at the police station on how to catch the reptiles,” he said.
Turbhe police station, which is close to a forested area, has a population of seven lakh under its jurisdiction. The police colony is also nearby. Children from the area avoid playing in the parks due to the presence of snakes. “I know about their problems. Very soon the police station will be shifted to a new location,” said Ahmed Javed, commissioner of police, Navi Mumbai. “We have removed debris and unclaimed vehicles from near the police station, and have cleaned up the area. There was a small pool here that we have filled up and converted into a volleyball ground for kids,” said MM Patil, inspector (crime), Turbhe police station.