Police must flush out criminal gangs and all illegal firearms
THE police have made good progress on the case of the daylight murder of Swapnil Walke, a jeweller in Margao on Wednesday. They have arrested the prime accused and also recovered the weapon and found clues. Let us hope the police conduct a proper investigation that leads to successful prosecution of the accused and punishment to them. The murder of Swapnil Walke shocked not only the jewellers of Margao, but also jewellers all over Goa; it did not shock only jewellers, but all Goans. The murder was carried out on a busy street in a congested area in broad daylight. Such murders are not common in Goa, as it might be in some of the other states. The brazenness with which the murderers acted suggests they were not ordinary criminals. The police have a major responsibility on their shoulders to act preemptively against gangs in order to apprehend the ringleaders and to break up criminal groupings by all legal means available to them. On their side, people have to do more than lament a daylight murder. They have to act. The evidence suggests that despite the site of murder being a congested place, people made no attempts to block the escape of the murderers. CCTV footage shows that no one rushed to take the profusely bleeding young jeweller to hospital.
While three persons have been arrested, there are speculations that more people were involved in the case. Police have spoken of one of the accused still being at large and possibility of yet another being involved in the case. The motive behind the crime so far appears to be robbery but it would be fair if a thorough probe is carried out to find out whether any other issue was involved. Even as the police are piecing together the evidence, politicians from the ruling and opposition sides are out blaming each other for increasing crime in Margao city and the rest of the state. Politicians should desist from making allegations in the fairness of justice till the probe is completed as any pressure on the police force at this crucial juncture could work to the advantage of the criminals. Let us hope the police carry out a probe without any script.
The murder in Margao is the third in the state during the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier, there was a shooting in Santa Cruz and a waiter at a Arpora restaurant was stabbed to death by a fellow worker. Both the murders occurred in June. That gruesome murders have taken place in the state during the pandemic do raise a question whether policing has been lax in breaking up criminal gangs. Is the alleged laxity of the police owing to the fact that criminal gangs often enjoy political influence? The police top brass had assured the people of Goa after the gang activity at Santa Cruz that they would take decisive action against criminal gangs. People have a right to know how many gangs have been legally liquidated by the state police. What about information from the ground level? Do the police have a robust system of information gathering to know in advance the criminal activities gangs are planning? It has come to light that the criminals conducted a reconnaissance before they struck at the jeweller’s shop to kill Swapnil Walke. Alertness on the part of police and boldness on the part of the public could have perhaps saved Swapnil Walke.
The criminals involved in the murder were armed with a countrymade revolver, knife and choppers. This is the second such incident in the last two and half months where illegal firearms were used. In June a person belonging to a gang was accidentally shot dead by a member of his own gang, while on a hit and scoot mission in Santa Cruz. That illegal firearms were used in the two cases indicates that there could be more such arms in possession of criminals operating in the state. It is only when a crime takes place that the police top brass speak of enforcing stringent measures only to forget about it soon. Had the police fulfilled its promise of going after gangs and illegal guns after the Santa Cruz incident, Swapnil Walke would perhaps have been living.