news Monday, May 25, 2015 - 05:30
The Hyderabad police's latest move is an operation which involves picking up youngsters and forcing them to undergo counseling to try and make them understand that staying out on the streets late at night isn’t wise. Patrolling areas of the old city like Chanrayangutta, Chatrinaka, Falaknuma, Kanchanbagh and Moin Bagh between 1 AM and 4 AM, ten teams of the South Zone division picked up 388 youngsters including 32 minors on Saturday and Sunday. All of them were hustled into the Basera Function Hall in the Falaknuma area of the city, where they were counselled about the dangers of staying out late, by senior cops and then let off after their parents came to collect them. The police have even come up with an inventive name for the whole affair, a pun on ‘road Romeos’, as urban people often call it. “Operation Late Night Roam-Yos or Roaming Youths was launched as the number of incidents of youth related crime was on the rise, a recent one being the murder of Nabeel,” Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), South Zone, K Babu Rao told The News Minute. On May 15, nine youngsters including two juveniles, were arrested and charged with murder after 17-year-old Nabeel was beaten to death in what started off as a friendly fist fight. “After the case, we started getting a lot of call from the children’s parents. They said that they were helpless and that the kids would resort to blackmail and threaten suicide if they didn’t get what they want. This is why we picked up all the youngsters loitering around and did not let them go till they went through counseling,” Rao says. “The operation has also got a great response from the citizens who have called the police up in a few cases to inform us of youngsters on the street,” Rao says, adding that the majority of the youngsters were between the age group of 18 to 25. While the police feel that their actions will help get youngsters back on the “right track,” others feel that this move might do harm than good. “There is no denial that there is a problem (of unruly behaviour among youngsters) but this move will instill fear in the youngsters rather than sensibility,” says S. Jeevan Kumar, state president of the Human Rights Forum, an NGO. Jeevan feels that a part of the solution also lies with the parents. “The parents also have to be counseled and be told how to deal with their children. The police should’ve tried talking to the parents a bit more to understand the problem before rounding up the children and taking them into custody,” he says. Recently, crime rates have shot up in the city, mostly in the old Hyderabad and incidents of stone pelting, stabbing and sexual harassment of women are on the rise. Asked whether such crimes are not seen elsewhere in the city, Rao said that other parts of the city were not immune to crime, but claimed that it was relatively lesser than in the old city.   Jeevan however, feels that there are more complex social issues at play. He points out the old city was in dire need of recreation facilities. “Children from old city live in a congested area with very little to do. In fact, there are hardly any big parks or grounds in the area where children can be let loose for a while. All that builds up inside them,” says Jeevan. He also feels that the increasing ghettoization in the area makes youngsters want to compensate for the lack of exposure once they grow older. “In 2008, when I was teaching at a college in Old City, I realized that a majority of the children had not seen the other side of the city with a significant chunk never having crossed the Musi River either. Things like that are really tough on kids,” he says.
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