Monday, August 6, 2007

Police to start help desk for Maldivians

Thiruvananthapuram: The medical college police are planning to set up a help desk for Maldivian citizens as part of its community-based policing initiative. More than 5,000 Maldivian nationals are estimated to be living under its area of jurisdiction alone.

Circle Inspector V. Suresh Kumar said the police will seek the services of credible persons fluent in Divehi language to interact better with Maldivian citizens. It will issue pamphlets (both in Divehi and English) outlining the various telephone-based helpline services offered by the city police.

Maldivian nationals who arrive in the city mostly for treatment and education are often soft targets for criminal elements. In 2006, a group of people owing allegiance to the city unit of a Maharashtra-based organisation had carried out a series of attacks against the homes and property of Maldivian nationals.
They were supposedly protesting against the alleged acts of violence perpetrated against Indian citizens working in the Maldives. The incidents had caused quite an outrage in the island nation and raised much concern in India.

In 2004, the medical college police had arrested a history-sheeter on the charge of abducting and raping a minor Maldivian girl. Maldivian women are often victims of sexual harassment in public places, though only a small fraction of them bother to lodge police complaints. They are also vulnerable to exploitation by middlemen.

The police are planning to register persons who work as local guides for Maldivians and issue them photo identity cards after verifying their antecedents. Officials believe that such a step would make the guides more responsible in their dealings with Maldivian clients.

A large number of Maldivian nationals are living as paying guests in private homes. Such homeowners rarely file the C-Form, a mandatory procedure for informing the police about the presence and particulars of foreign guests. The police will crackdown on such violations of the Foreigner’s Registration Act, including unauthorised stay of foreign nationals after the expiry of their visa period.

Joint night patrolling by policemen and citizens has helped reduce crime, mainly burglaries, in the station area. The police were able to bust two residential colony-based sex-for-money rackets recently on the basis of information provided by citizens.

Source: Hindhu News

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