Kannagi Nagar Police Station
Charudatt Prabhu, V.Ganesh, Kanishka Birat
It is fitting perhaps that the police station in Kannagi Nagar–an area of subsidized housing on the fat corner of the city–functions out of a rented building that was earlier a community hall.
While a group – mostly women, sit and discuss matters on the pavement of 25th Main Road, many people get in and out of a building, which originally is built to serve as a community hall, but now for nearly a decade, it functions as a police station, known as J 11Kannagi Nagar Police Station.
Earlier, the nearest police station was in Thoraipakkam but due to a surge in crime rate, the settlement received its own police station. ‘This police station now is full of noise, it is like a Chathiram (a marriage hall),’ adds Ezhumalai, who now prepares stages and mics used in functions.
The existing police station is functioning on a rental basis. The police said that the new structure for the police station is getting ready, and once the existing police station gets shifted the place will serve its original purpose, that is of a community hall.
A cop maintains an inwards and outwards register at the entrance. The wide main gate leads to a hall which has fans with squeaking noise and dusty tube lights hung from the ceiling. The hall has temporary plywood separations for cabins on either sides, the stage adjacent to inspector’s cabin has aluminum cabins lined in one direction. In the lock up, a man lies curled up on one side with his knees bent.
The new inspector of Kannagi Nagar police station — K. R. Senthilkumar is regularly briefed by his team. The walkie-talkie on the table kept giving him information, and under the glass are the photos of gods and on each of it is a rose.
Contrary to the common notion of being a slum area and crime affected place, Kannagi Nagar boasts of various buildings and well planned and maintained roads especially the place in the vicinity of the police station. The cream and brown building with compound wall from all sides gives the police enough space to park their vehicles and as well the seized and damaged ones.
The inspector said: “We try to interfere in the squabble between the families, so that it does not go further. Yes, petty crimes are common in the area, but major crimes seldom happen.”
He later added, “Although there are no organised gangs in the locality but unity among the poor is immense.”
The police are on patrolling throughout the twenty-four hours. Recently one police booth has been set up in the area. The police usually patrol the area with motorcycles.
When asked about the crime rates of Kannagi Nagar, the inspector said: “There are criminals in the locality, but that does not mean they necessarily commit all the crimes here, they go to other localities as well and commit crimes there.”
Residents take on the police
Sekar, a carpenter who lives in a street opposite to the police station, helps his family in small business and children’s items. He said: “The presence of a police station nearby gives the locals a sense of security and they regularly patrol the area.”
Chandru, a barber said: “The police never trouble him or the locals.”
Malini, a housekeeper had a different take. “The police arrive only when they hear of an issue, they inquire about it and counsel the people concerned.”