City Pulse


June 10, 2014 By Team ICMYC
A security guard sexually molests a 5 year child and an Area Suraksha Mitra reports this to the police and follows up for action.

Padmaraju, a resident of Laggere, gets to know of an incident of child abuse by a security guard and files an FIR against him. Though this can be seen as a simple step of reporting a crime, it is not so.  This requires the parents of the victim to repose trust in an ASM and confide in him about the incident without any inhibition. 
The incident occurred 5 months ago when a 50 year old security guard sexually abused a 5 year old girl child. This girl who had gone to her home with her parents appeared reluctant to accompany them again to Bangalore, for a vacation. This was when she confided that during her last visit to Bangalore, a security guard nearby her house was being ‘touchy’ and to the shock of her parents, she even complained of urinary irritation.
This was when it struck her parents that something had gone severely wrong. Her parents came to Bangalore, contacted Padmaraju and narrated the entire ordeal. He then filed a case of child molestation against the guard but soon the police realized that the guard might have escaped. This was because there were already two other cases of sexual abuse for which he was the accused. Unlike these two cases of sexual abuse, this particular case was reported by Padmaraju. The FIR is lodged but the accused is still at large. Though there is a set procedure to complain against a crime such as this, it makes it easier if there is a comfortable point of contact between people and police.
Padmaraju is designated as an Area Suraksha Mitra (ASM) under a programme of Community Policing, a joint initiative of Bangalore Police and Janaagraha. He works as a labour contractor and has connections with the prominent ward representatives and political representatives. This helps him to contact these authorities to resolve any such issues in the area. Such was the case of the child abuse that was brought to his notice.
He believes community policing can be successfully carried out when there is a basic comfort level with the ASM. This is especially true as the people generally have inhibitions on directly contacting police. This can be made easier if the ASM is acquainted with the policeman. And this is what makes the system of ASM work.  He feels the ASM model has given him the necessary platform to bridge the gap that is evidently missing in the current social context.