On hills, staying safe a challenge


The increasing instances of robberies, attacks, eve-teasing and even blackmailing on the hills around Pune has alarmed citizens who frequent them for outings, morning and evening walks. Though police claim that they have taken steps to curb these crimes, they admit to the "limitations".

Several residential areas in Pune are situated around the hills Kothrud, Warje, Pashan, Bavdhan, Baner, Hadapsar, Yerawada, Parvati in PMC areas and Nigdi in Pimpri-Chinchwad. While sporadic incidents were reported earlier, too, in the past two-three years crime has increased on the hills.

A senior officer with Pune police's crime branch said more then 50 incidents had been reported from across the hilly areas in the last two years. Most of these are reported from Vetal Tekdi, one the largest tracts in the city spread from Chatuhshrungi temple to Chandni Chowk and from Pashan to Paud Road.

Subhash Nikam, inspector (crime) with Chatuhshrungi police station, said, "There have been incidences of robberies on the hills in our jurisdiction. We have started regular patrolling in the area. We also ask people to stay away from the hills after 7 pm. We carry out surprise checks."

A constable said, "There have been incidences of people from nearby slum areas troubling and even blackmailing couples who visit these hills. These couples do not file complaints as they are afraid their family members would come to know."

Last year, the Pune police crime branch arrested history-sheeter Somnath Shankar Dhotre (30), from Wadarwadi. Inspector Satish Govekar, who arrested him, said, "Dhotre's gang was involved in over 70 cases of robberies on the hills such as Hanuman Tekdi, Law College Road hill, ARAI hill and hilly areas around Chandni Chowk. They have been targeting people who choose to walk off the regular routes on these hills. The gang operated in groups of two-three persons."

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