In a state that registers the highest crime rate in a year, this is one case that had been giving sleepless nights to the Uttar Pradesh police. 17 months after UP cabinet minister Azam Khan’s buffaloes were lost in Rampur district, the state police claims to have finally cracked the case. After months of search operations, the police nabbed the gang behind the theft from Moradabad last week. The ‘high profile’ case had sent state police into a tizzy after Khan’s seven buffaloes were stolen from his Rampur barn in February 2014. The buffaloes were found within 36 hours of the complaint, but three police officials were suspended in the case that had the sleuths on their toes.
Even as this may just pass as news about the Samajwadi Party leader who has often been in limelight for his political comments, it is worrying and serious for a state that has been the centre of a tough law-and-order situation over the last three years. The last month in itself has been tough with the killing of a journalist in Shajahanpur, and violence against journalists in other districts too. From local, sporadic events to the more gruesome crimes against women such as Badaun case, UP has been under constant vigil for its slack police response. Western Uttar Pradesh, particularly, has been at the brink of violence outbreaks and clashes between different sects over the last two years.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Uttar Pradesh topped the list in both the percentage of cases of violent crimes and cases of murder. However, for a state home to roughly 16 per cent of India’s population, this also raises a pertinent question on where the personnel force is directed? The issues of an understaffed and ill-equipped manpower really do not seem to deter the police efficiency when it comes to politically loaded cases. Just two days after Azam Khan’s buffalo thief was nabbed, Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Dharmpal Singh from Aonla in Bareilly also reported that his nine buffaloes had gone missing. The cops clearly have a lot at stake – with yet another mystery case of missing buffaloes to be cracked.
(Source: National Crime Records Bureau)
- In 2012, the UP police had 89 policemen per lakh population. In 2013, the ratio dipped further with 78 policemen per lakh population. For a state with a population of around 20 crore, the ratio is too low according to NCRB standards.
- Bihar had the lowest policemen to people ratio with only 67 policemen per lakh population in 2012. The number increased to 77 per lakh people in 2013.
- In 2013, Uttar Pradesh was also among the top five states with maximum expenditure on state police – with a budget of over 43 lakhs.
- UP, with Karnataka, was also among the top two states where policemen were among the best equipped with wireless equipment and vehicles in 2012-13.