Posts Tagged ‘police station’

Harassment by autorickshaw driver and police constables, Gavi Gangadeshwara Temple, Basavanagudi

February 2, 2014

After getting her car stuck in dug-up areas of Bangalore roads, my friend KV yielded the wheel of her car to me. We were going to visit the Gavi Gangadeshwara Temple in Basavanagudi.

What happened as we turned the last blind corner to the temple felt like a sheer accident at the time, but in hindsight, appears to be a deliberately designed racket.

An auto driver came too close to me and hit the right-hand-side wing mirror. I was irritated at his driving, but since we were four ladies (my friend K V, her mother, her aunt, another friend, J V, and myself) in the car, I didn’t want to get into a slanging match. I knew that there had been no damage to my friend’s car or to the auto. I decided to let it go, as one does, countless times. I went further and parked.

The auto driver followed me, parked his auto next to me, and collected a group of other auto drivers (who all hang around with their autos there) and unleashed a storm of invective. Vituperative and abusive beyond belief, it was plain that he was angling to get some money. I refused to respond to his demands and told him I was wiling to go to the police station with him.

Quite magically, two constables appeared…with big grins on their faces, which I could not understand or explain at the time. They talked to the crowd of auto drivers, all of whom had become “eyewitnesses” to the “fact” that I had hit the auto. I stood my ground and they told me to come to the police station, just at the end of the road.

My poor friend, though a lawyer, is of a soft nature, and she did not want to respond to the threats by the auto driver and his cronies. Also, her mother and aunt were very perturbed, and the aunt tried the tactic of apologizing to the police and the auto driver, hoping that they would let us go. This only marked us down as being weak, and the auto driver’s behaviour became even more belligerent.

The constable on duty at the police station took down the details of the auto driver. When I said I too wanted to register a case, he was magically reminded that he could not book a traffic case, and told me to go to Basavanagudi Traffic Police Station. If this was so, how was he writing down the details of the auto driver’s complaint? I refused to go to any other police station, reminding the constables that it was they who asked me to come to this police station.

At this point, the auto driver touched me, inappropriately, and yelled again. I told him I would slap him if he touched me, and rounded on the constables who saw it happen and were enjoying the spectacle. By this time, I was indescribably angry.

Meanwhile, my friend called up another lawyer friend of hers, who advised her to book a case of harassment against the auto driver. At this point, she too was extremely angry. She came in, demanded that a case for harassment be booked, and promised to stay the night if necessary at the police station, until the matter was resolved. The police, who were there to protect citizens, were obviously not doing their job, to say the least.

The fact that we stood our ground, and clearly would not pay, and the fact that she was a lawyer, may not have had anything to do with the matter, but the inspector stepped in and asked us to go. And go, we did. We took the car right back to the temple, and J and I watched the car while my friend, her mother, and her aunt went in for darshan.

Whie we were there, the two original constables came back! They asked how we had come away. My friend J, with presence of mind, replied, “Go and ask your inspector that, he was the one who asked us to go.” They pushed off at this.

The person who takes care of the footwear outside the temple informed us that this is a regular happening near this temple, and usually, the frightened passengers of the car pay up to avoid trouble.

Therefore, the way the auto driver hit the car, the way he followed us and created a ruckus, calling in a crowd of other autowallahs, the way the constables appeared, the smiles on their faces, the attempt to intimidate us at the police station…all these conspire to make me feel strongly that this is an organized racket.

Here’s a photo of the auto driver and his auto. No, I could not get pictures of the police constables. I was far too upset arguing with them and trying to deal with the goons.


He’s the one wearing the khaki coat, and the two others in the photos are two of the other auto drivers.

Post-birding Drama, Lalbagh, 111211

December 11, 2011

Hi everyone,

I’ll be writing about the very enjoyable 2nd Sunday birding outing, especially with the children and teachers of Sri Vani School of Magadi Road….but before that, I have to tell you about events that unfolded just after we dispersed.

When going back, I realized that the “birding bag” I carry (binocs, bird book, water bottle, camera, sketch pad) had been mislaid, and we narrowed it down to the area where we had seen the Spotted Owlet (near the Bamboo thicket). When we went back there, we found a group of people clearing up the dead leaves. We asked them if they had seen a bag, and they shook their heads…but something about their denial made us suspicious. On pressing further, they said they did have the bag, and while Dr Sanjeev Managoli quickly phone the police, they produced the bag.

I just returned from Coorg yesterday evening, so my purse containing all my credit cards, driving licence, and a fair amount of cash, had been in the bag. I found that the purse was missing. My bag was full of dead grass….and the credit cards and driving licence had been taken out of the purse and put in the bag.

We told the cleaners this, and said that we would not move from there unless they produced the purse. When an inspector and a constable arrived on their Cheetah bike, things started getting interesting, with the contractor telling us that if we “did not make a scene” he was responsible for the recovery of the purse. One man then got into the lorry, and magically produced the bag from the pile of dead leaves. Relieved, I gave him Rs.100, which I was carrying in my pocket, as a reward…and then opened the purse.

It was fortunate that I knew exactly how much money was in the purse, because I found that about Rs.3000 was missing from the purse. We told the police this….I was really scared by this time that they would start beating up the man who had been talking in great and unnecessary detail, about how the bag had been open, and so on. But a little threatening, followed by a period when we let the contractor talk to the group, worked wonders. The money, folded just as I had kept it, was brought out from the waist pouch of one of the ladies. As I had withdrawn the amount just the previous day from the ATM, I knew the serial numbers and they matched. We did not press charges….after all, I felt, we had been careless ourselves, and such money would be a temptation….and we left. The police refused to take any money from us, and we thanked them profusely.

The whole process…took about an hour and a half of, alternately, waiting and conversation.

So…if you happen to leave your belongings behind….DO ask the people around, without hesitation. And do call 100 on your phones….the “cheetah” police do arrive, and are very effective in recovering the lost articles/currency.

I am deeply grateful to Dr Sanjeev Managoli, who acted so promptly in both making the phone call, and who also insisted that we must stay until everything was recovered (when I saw that my credit cards and driving licence were in the bag, I was willing to write off the money and leave)….and who made sure that these people got the message that dishonesty might have bad consequences. Without his determined course of action, I do not think I could have even got the bag back, let alone the cash. Thank you, Sanjeev! Thank you also to Apoorva, Kannan, and Bhavita, who ignored their hunger pangs and stood by me throughout.

OK, I’ll write about the delightful morning we had, with the children of Sri Vani School, experienced birders like MBK , Subbu, Swamy, Ranjini, and others, the shutterbug brigade of Wide Angle who sort of came along, too……and new people like Rohan-the-bird-cartoonist who joined the BWFC outing for the first time….after I post the photos to Facebook!

Cheers, from a relieved-at-not-having-been-relieved of cash

Bomb Threat, St.Louis, 080811

August 9, 2011

Yesterday, near the downtown area (very close to the Gateway Arch) where A works, someone spotted a small strolley, and it was treated as a bomb threat. (A took the two photographs from her office window.)

Here’s the strolley, isolated by police tape:

bmb stcs 080811 stl

She said that a robot, just like the one I’d photographed and taken this video of in 2009 (this was part of a police-meets-the-public program at the Loop)

Was used to investigate the suitcase.

But a protective-suit-clad bomb expert investigated the bag…

bmb thrt stl 080811

I can only imagine how stressful and dangerous such a job must be…never knowing what it is that one is going to approach, laying one’s life on the line each time….

Finally, the bag was opened…and, A says, they found toothpaste and underwear inside!

Here’s D’s comment on who might have left that bag:

“A disgruntled citizen, no doubt, who is annoyed at having any tax dollars (that they may or may not have paid) going towards “wasteful” projects. Well, what a waste if a bomb were actually to blow up the bridge… how many more tax dollars would be spent repairing that? But, I digress. It’s just one theory. Another one is that somewhere there is a person trying to check their bag at the airport before getting on a plane and thinking, “hey, where’s my suitcase?? Oh… shit!!!” And he might just be lucky enough to see one of the terminal TVs showing CNN, showing live coverage of a bomb squad blowing up his suitcase.”

That’s hilarious…but the next bomb threat may not be so….the Bomb Squad can never afford to relax.

A visit from the police

July 20, 2011

All the residents on our block got this email from the residents’ association (or whatever it is called!) a few days ago:

“Two Officers will be in the neighborhood tomorrow 7/18 from 4-6pm to properly mark your property, assets such as flat screens laptops, desktop computers, ipads, other electronics that can be taken from your home. They will also pass out safety information to help protect us against crime. For more information contact the officers directly: Officer Michael Butler and Officer Kathy Suarez North Patrol Special Operations.”

Sure enough, at about 5pm, several police officers rang the doorbell, gave us a sheet of paper on which we could list out our valuables. They also brought a special pen with which they marked the TV, the laptops, and few other valuable items around the house. They also told us that we could make the list at our leisure and keep it ready.

As they left, I went and asked if I could photograph them, and they agreed:

police 180711 stl

How lovely to have such an interaction with the police force! Instead of the usual “us-and-them” feeling that I often get in India, here I got a feeling of committed officers, working hard for our welfare. I watched them talking to many of the neighbours, too, in the sweltering heat of the day, before they finally left. One of them was in casual clothes, one in full uniform, and the others had “POLICE” tees!

They can’t have an easy job….in a society where, especially, guns are so prevalent…so I appreciate their efforts all the more.

I emailed them the photograph, and got an immediate reply from Janice Y Bockstruck (who’s in the photo):

“Thank you for sending us a copy of the picture. It was a pleasure to
serve the community in such a positive way and meet such nice residents
as yourself who support our efforts!

“Lt. Janice Bockstruck”

Wow…I’m hoping for the day when I can email Karnataka Police, and get a quick reply like that…..but meanwhile, thank you, St.Louis Metropolitan Police Department!

Basavanagudi Police Station,Bangalore

April 29, 2007

Want to see the most beautiful Police Station I have ever seen? Here:

And I qualify that to…”the most beautiful Police Station…from the outside…”


June 11, 2005

Going through the wringer with the Honda City insurance…the local police station won’t take accident complaints, the one that does has a policeman who asks for rs. 500 to register the complaint, then it takes an hour to drive to the service place and another 2 hours to come back by auto through Blr’s beautiful traffic… most of the parts seem to be made of plastic for which only 40% of the insurance cost will be reimbursed….

From yesterday the home phone is dead, and the phone lineman and the building electrician will NOT come at the same time, but will alternately appear and blame each other…feel like burying them along with the phone…

We are lucky that this happens to us only once in a while….

Corruption is bad. Inefficiency is bad. But Bangalore has a combination of both…deadly!