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Friday, December 5, 2014

handcuffing criminals ..... Andhra Police facing shortage of handcuffs !!!

In ‘Marudhamalai’ a hilarious comedy,  starring Arjun,  Encounter Ekambaram [cast by Vadivelu] transports a criminal in a TVS 50 with Arjun driving, Vadivelu in the pillion and the criminal made to sit in the gap between petrol tank and seat – due to the soft heart of Vadivelu, the person would escape ………. In Surya starrer ‘Singam’ – Vivek as Yettu Erimalai, would be escorting a criminal to a Court – against the advice of Durai Singam, he would handcuff the criminal and have it attached to his hand – sit in a bus – the way the criminal makes his escape, carrying Erimalai alongwith him would provide great humour. 

Transporting accused to the Court is a difficult job – a decade ago and more, have seen criminals escorted by Police men to the Madras High Court, from a distance, one cannot make out anything eerie, but a close watch could reveal that there would be a towel placed on the shoulders of the accused which would cover the handcuff.  On an earlier occasion travelled by  Kakinada Tirupati Express in an unreserved compartment – me and my friend spread the newspaper and fell asleep on the floor – there were few others nearby, so did few policemen with old type guns – in the midnight realised that the police were escorting some criminals to a Court / prison on the way – the handcuff on the one side was on the  accused  with the other tied to the legs of railway seat.

Now read this interesting report from ‘The Hindu’ – apart  from the overcrowded jails with the numerous arrests of hired labourers in red sanders smuggling cases, the police are now facing a peculiar problem -  acute shortage of handcuffs. Left with no other option, now the police are using twine ropes to tie the accused while taking the latter for court hearing.

During the last two years, police have apprehended more than 2,000 hired labourers from Tamil Nadu, who were engaged by the smugglers to fell red sanders trees and transport the logs to hideouts. In majority of cases, the arrests were made at forest fringe villages of Piler and Chandragiri constituencies and at vital border check-posts at Yadamarri, Chittoor and Puttur. In recent months, police teams have been nabbing tens of accused in a single raid. There were occasions, when task force had nabbed over hundred of labourers in each case. Such arrests touched the peak after murder of two forest officials in Tirumala hills in recent months.

Risky affair : While shifting the accused from foothills of Seshachalam hills or border check-posts to respective police stations, police find the job a Herculean one, with limited number of handcuffs. A senior police officer in Piler circle, where smuggling activity is rampant, said: “Each station would have about half a dozen handcuffs, which would be used in multiple cases. “The ratio between availability of handcuffs and requirement would be 1:10 or even more.” Police admit that using of twine ropes to prevent escaping of the accused is not a good idea. “But, we have no other option,” they say. “While escorting the accused in buses to courts, we are forced to allow them to be free as they find use of ropes embarrassing. But we have to be equally vigilant as it is risky,” say one official.

In law, people are to be treated fairly, UK  honours Justice and ensures that all get fair and just treatment.  A couple of years back - a prison van travelled 96 miles to transfer a defendant just 60 yards from a police station to a court because walking would 'infringe his human rights'. A criminal Oliver Thomas had to be presented in Magistrates Court and that was situated almost 60 yards away from Banbury Police Station and could take a 30 second walk.   But if he were to be produced in the Court that way, the Police would have to handcuff the prisoner and take him down the street y walk – and that perhaps could stray into the area of human rights !!  they have a right to have their identity protected and such production into Courts is usually done by a covered vehicle, provided specially by a contracted agency. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
1st Dec 2014.

Photo and news credit : The Hindu.

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