No major crimes at the slums, says Police
The families of two lovers from the slum near R.A. Puram created a scene at the premises of E-4 Abiramapuram Police Station, bringing their “gangs” to resolve the issue, recalled R. Kannan, Inspector of Police.
The matter began when a 19-year-old girl complained that her family was arranging her marriage against her wishes, at the police station a few days ago. It turned out to be so that the girl, who belongs to Mudaliar community, fell in love with a 22-year-old boy from a Scheduled Caste.
The police had to intervene when the girl’s family refused to marry her off to the boy and angry words were exchanged between the two groups at the station.
“Police can’t do anything else,” he said, explaining that the girl was not a minor.
In another case of over 20 days ago, a hen strayed over to a neighbour’s house, creating a ground for a fight between the nearby residents of the area. The women of the two households quarrelled, bringing the case to the police station.
It was suggested by him that the hen be disposed of, recalled Kannan, bringing the dispute to an end. Laughing, he said that the best solution was to cook the poultry and share it between them.
Such are the law and order issues that come up at this police station. The temporary space of the station has about five rooms in total, at one end of the property which also houses the Mylapore-Triplicane Taluk office and an e-Seva Centre.
The air-conditioned office of Inspector Kannan was abuzz with activity. He was constantly on the phone or talking to the Constables while tapping at the list of Ministers and Judges, who live on Greenways Road, which comes under his jurisdiction as well.
These petty crimes see a surge especially during Saturdays and Sundays as well as the temple festivals, said Prabhu Srinivasan, the Head Constable. But they receive only 2-3 complaints in a month, he added.
Talking about the eviction and relocation of about 300 families staying in the area five years ago, Srinivasan said that these crimes have decreased in the years since then. The area consists of 700 houses, inhabiting around 3000 people, he added.
There are no major crimes in slums like these as they are thickly populated and people know each other, said Shanmugam M, another Inspector at the station.
He also said that the petty offences like theft of vessels and clothes go unreported. “They will get beaten or killed,” said Shanmugam, about the snatchers, who he said do not come to the area for fear of being caught.
There are therefore only minor law and order issues, unlike the crimes in the slums of North Madras, he said.
These also arise because of poverty and lack of education. Husbands generally go out for work as labourers, earn less than minimum wage and spend that on drinking. Alcoholism and addiction are therefore the prime reasons for family feuds, Shanmugam said.
Many people said that they have very few interactions with the police. “Police come only when the fight is over,” said Sathyaraghu, a resident of the area.