Why are Punekars getting violent over parking woes?

Published: 03 December, 2013 00:51 IST | Niranjan Medhekar and Salil Urunkar |

The number of quarrels, fights and violent assaults has seen a sudden rise in Pune over trivial issues such as parking tiffs and minor scuffles; experts feel the level of intolerance in the youth coupled with political support are some of the reasons for the escalated violence

A day after seven goons barged into a classroom and threatened the lecturer (in pic) Avinash Dharmadhikari, a former IAS officer and Founder-Director of Chanakya Mandal, he identified four of them during a police identification parade yesterday.

“I immediately recognised the four persons. Surprisingly, unlikeon the day of the incident, all were frightened and were requesting me for mercy yesterday,” said Dharmadhikari.

Vandalised: A gang of seven men created a ruckus in the premises of Tilak College of Education, located at SP College, on Sunday evening. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

After they were identified, the Vishrambaug police arrested the main culprit and booked the other six on charges of vandalizing the premises of Tilak College of Education and damaging the vehicles parked in the vicinity on Sunday evening.

The arrested person has been identified as Shravan alias Rahul Ashok Burungale (20), a resident of Dandekar Bridge. A local court has remanded him in police custody for two days. Police said they are ascertaining the roles of the three others identified by Dharmadhikari before apprehending them.

Damaged doors of the college

The prosecution had demanded custodial interrogation of the arrested accused to find out the whereabouts of the remaining three who are absconding, and to recover the cricket bats and hockey sticks used in the violence.

‘Goonda raj’
The brazen act of violence at Tilak College of Education has put the spotlight back on criminality by youths who enjoy political support from their godfathers, said Dharmadhikari when MiD DAY asked him about the reasons for the rise in intolerance levels among the city’s youth.

Miscreants broke the notice boards in the college

“Such incidents have many facets but most of the time it takesa violent turn after a trivial matter. I think one of the main reasons is that the miscreants are confident about their political backing and hence they are not at all worried about repercussions of their behaviour,” Dharmadhikari said.

Smash bang: On Sunday evening, enraged over an argument with two students over a parking spot in Tilak College of Education, a group of seven youths went on a rampage  and shattered the glasses of several parked vehicles

“I think that these boys directing abusive language towards a teacher shows the failure of their family values. This proves that they were never told by the elders in their family how to behave in public, or how to address a teacher,” Dharmadhikari added.

SP College bears the brunt
In a similar incident two months ago, on October 9, during the controversy of the backdoor admission row in SP College, a politically motivated mob locked the college Vice Principal Surekha Dange and some government officials.

On their way out, the goons also shattered the glasses of several vehicles parked in college premises

Mindless violence
Another dispute over a parking space was reported wherein a chemist, Prashant Shendkar, was assaulted by a doctor -- identified as Ketan Shelar, a resident of Kalas near Yerawada -- on Sunday. According to the complaint filed by Shendkar, Shelar used to park his vehicle in front of his store. Shelar was also sending offensive messages to Shendkar. When the complainant questioned Shelar and his uncle over his conduct, Shelar assaulted him with a sharp weapon.

Parking spot fights
This is not the first case of ‘goonda raj’ reported in the city overa parking spot. In the past there have been similar incidents wherein a small argument over parking has taken a violent turn. Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Shahaji Solunke recalled a recent incident wherein some unidentified persons beat up the son of a senior police officer over a trivial issue. “The boy was heading to his place when his car banged against a stationary two-wheeler in Bund Garden. Neither was there any damage to the vehicle nor was anyone injured in the incident. When the boy decided to shift the vehicle to a safer spot, and stepped out of his vehicle, a few persons approached him and started beating him mercilessly. He was so frightened that he called me up,” Solunke said. Such incidents have become common nowadays and a proper study needs to be conducted to ascertain the reasons behind such acts by citizens, Solunke said. “Easy money coming from real-estate dealings and other sources has made people impatient in terms of social conduct. According to my observations, consumerism and greed of material benefits is to be blamed for this. Changes take place in society, but this social acceleration that we are experiencing is too fast paced to handle,” Solunke added.

Is road rage hereditary?
Dr Bharat Desai, senior psychologist and former HoD of the psychology department, Abasaheb Garware College, while commenting on the increasing incidents of road rage and aggression, said, “People having psychotic tendencies can behave aggressively like this. This is a personality disorder and could be hereditary. These people also react unreasonably over a small issue.” “We have to consider the adolescent age of these men, who are involved in such kind of incidents. On one side there is a challenge of survival and at the same time there is tremendous insecurity of earning money, getting good jobs. All these frustrations come out during such incidents,” Desai added.

The incident
The incident took place on Sunday evening when Dharmadhikari, founder director of the Chanakya Mandal, was delivering a lecture in one of the classrooms of the college. Armed with hockey sticks and bats, a gang of seven men barged into the first floor classroom looking for two students who were embroiled in a tiff with one of them over a parking issue minutes earlier. When they directed profanities at Dharmadhikari, the students took offence and asked the gang to leave. On their way out, they destroyed the college notice boards, broke windowpanes and damaged several vehicles parked on the premises of the college.

7 Number of goons who vandalised the vehicles 

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