With development comes some unwanted growth as well, like the increase of crimes and criminals, especially related to drugs and cyber fraud. Youngsters are the most vulnerable in these two sectors as they are consumed by them. Apart from police action, the only other way to tackle such crimes is through awareness and prevention.
With this thought, the Bikaner police department, under the leadership of SP Tejaswani Gautam, have started an umbrella initiative. The initiative is titled ‘Strategic Action Against Violence, Drugs, Henious crime, Accidents on road And Negligent behaviour on social media – SAVDHAAN.
Under this initiative, the department is not only taking action against history sheeters but also conducting engagement drives to raise the awareness of the public. The initiative is already a success in controlling substance abuse among youngsters, and derogatory posts on social media. In an exclusive conversation with Indian Masterminds, Ms. Gautam shared details about the SAVDHAAN campaign.
CRACKING DOWN ON GANGSTERS
As part of SAVDHAAN, the Bikaner police have identified the history sheeters and offenders of heinous crimes. All of them have been put under surveillance and their properties have been either freezed or seized. The police have also demolished properties that have been acquired through illegal means. Ms. Gautam said that the police is taking action under the Rajasthan Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act, 2006 (RAJPASA). Due to these crackdowns, the number of complaints has come down significantly.
Bikaner shares border with the Punjab province of Pakistan. And, in the past few years, the smuggling of drugs has increased in the area and so has the access of drugs, which has led to its abuse among youngsters. Even though this is a persisting problem, yet the police is focussing more on big cartels and seizing more amounts of drugs.
“The investigation is tiring. And, since Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 is not very strict for small amounts, so the police generally don’t target such cases. However, the issue is very serious and one can’t ignore it as it affects the future of the young generation,” said the officer.
So, the Bikaner Police have started an anti-drug helpline number – 95304 14947. This is not like any other helpline number as the identity of the caller remains hidden. The police department is using a software which masks the original identity of the caller which makes people feel free to give information about the buying and selling of drugs.
The best part about it is, the police have been able to verify and investigate each and every complaint and tip. So, this has been a huge success. Talking about it, the officer said, “No one except me can access the information related to the identity of the caller. Earlier, people were sacred to give information even when they witness such cases in front of them. Nobody wants to look bad or make enemies. In such a scenario, this helpline has helped a lot.”
Recently, the police were also able to bust a small gang who were using kids for delivery of drugs.
One other concern is the content of social media, which is not very regulated. People post reels or pictures which can be discriminating, and can also incite violence. “People don’t use the social media responsibly. Some post derogatory remarks on gender or religion. Some post pictures of illegal activities, like posing with arms and ammunition. All these need to be taken care of,” she said. Hence, the police have started to educate people about how to use social media in a responsible manner. They have also identified more than 400 people who post controversial content.
Bikaner Police is using a software to search locations and key words on social media to take action against offenders. Also, they have identified people who follow or share posts of gangsters or history sheeters. With the help of in initiatives like the Suraksha Sakhi, Police Mitra and Gram Rakshak, they have widen their network to watch out for harmful content on social media.
“It has become tricky now. People are playing with keywords so that they don’t come under the direct search. For example, if they post about ‘love jihad’, they will use # in place of H or ! in place of ‘I’. This makes it tough for police to find them out, but now we have started including such key words and are trying to regulate the content as much as we can,“ Ms. Gautam said.