Delhis West Police District the word is out. No future in bootlegging. Hundreds of the
Sansi tribe people who in the past had made their living selling country made liquor
imported from neighboring states, are now clamoring for regular employment.
The change has come because of the relentless drive by
West District Police Chief Kiran Bedi to root out the liquor traffic. In the past three months
alone 302 persons have been arrested, among them, 138 women.
The change in the mood of the Sansis was evident at a
meeting organized in Madipur a few days ago with Mrs Bedi. One by one the Sansis stood up to plead
that they be given bank loans to set up cottage industries and allowed community facilities so
that they can get back on the rails.
Chinto, a middle aged woman with 10 children, begged
I have sold illicit liquor all my life, at least two bottles a day. But now I have no means
to support my children and my children and husband are ill. Please find me some work.
There were others who spoke in the same vein. A man from
Sialkot said he had been earning Rs 100 to Rs 200 through liquor sale but but now his intake had
dwindled to few rupees. The police he said, had completely curtailed his activity. The meeting
decided to send a deputation to Lieutenant Governor Jagmohan to submit to him their demands for
| Mrs Bedi made it clear to them that the police would brook no denial in curbing their
nefarious practices but could offer them no alternative source of work. The rest, she said was
Police records show that there are 935 known bootleggers,
including 222 women in the district. With some still unknown, the figure could go higher. They
used to manufacture liquor in their own stalls, but after these had been unearthed they retail the
stuff for the wholesalers who drive in their cars across the border. A motorcycle precedes the car
carrying liquor in tyres or bottles during the night, and if the coast is clear, the stuff is
dumped at a prearranged spot to be picked up later. The lack of enthusiasm by the state police has
prevented the flushing out of the wholesalers and the local police is left on their own.
Meanwhile the liquor finds it's way into the mouths of
local toughs and from them the sad tale of petty theft, stabbing and other crimes emanate. With
the cutting down of the source, the whole crime pattern of the district may change and the future
of the dozens of children who are the only ones who matter may be brighter. What is really needed,
says Mrs Bedi, is that a social worker be attached to every police station. It is now upto the
authorities and the various social service organization to step in and complete the job.