Professional - District Policing

Criminals came on the mend

Boot-leggers off keel in the West District
(The Patriot, 11 April 1980)

    In Delhi’s 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 rehabilitation.
    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 upto them. 
    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.

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