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Lungtenphu residents ill at ease

With a murder suspect still on the loose, locals are loth to step out at night or walk alone

Crime: Residents in Lungtenphu are raising concerns on safety issues in the locality, even as police are still on the lookout for the suspect in connection with the murder of a 29-year-old man at the Central Plaza building last week.

The suspect is the occupant of a flat in the attic, where the cold-blooded murder took place.  The deceased was found dead in a pool of blood on January 13 around 7.30am at the entrance of the five-storied building.  The murder had taken place in one of the flats in the attic, after which the body was dragged to the balcony and thrown off.  The occupant of the flat at the attic has been missing since then.

Following the murder, residents said they don’t feel safe anymore.  Besides, they keep witnessing fights, burglary or theft cases almost every night.  In November 2013, a 48-year old engineer from India was found murdered near a construction site next to the helipad at Changjalu.  Three suspects, all Bhutanese, were arrested in connection with the murder.

A resident, Namgay, said he stopped going for evening walks after he heard about the murder. “I don’t send my children outside after it gets dark as it’s no longer safe like before,” he said.

With several incidents of crime occurring in the city every day, Kinley Payden, a corporate employee, said she doesn’t feel safe walking alone to work or home.

“I take a lift from friends usually and, even if I have to walk, I make sure I have a friend to walk with,” she said. “It wasn’t like this before. Now, with more people, the city is becoming unsafe by the day.”

Residents feel police should intensify patrolling in areas like Changjalu, Lungtenphu, Babesa and Olakha, where more crimes are reported, especially with the increase in population and houses.

Chief of police, brigadier Kipchu Namgyel, said that the police was doing its part and people should not panic.

Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel said police took several initiatives, like the police youth partnership and friends of police programmes to intensify vigilance, with more focus on Thimphu.  Policemen in plain clothes have been deployed as well.

In ensuring safety, the brigadier said thousands of policemen could be placed in various areas.

“But this is not a healthy practice, as we are not a police state,” the brigadier said.

There are six community police centres in Thimphu, from Motithang to Babesa.

The community police initiatives, according to the chief of police, was to create awareness among people on how a community can work together with police to prevent crimes.  Urging people to cooperate with police, and to report anything unusual in their areas, the chief of police said the identity of the informer would be protected.

“If my men aren’t effective in fulfilling their duties when a crime is reported, people can call me personally, and I’d deal with it accordingly,” brigadier Kipchu Namgyel said.

Meanwhile, all police stations have been informed of the suspect and photographs distributed as well.  Police said they are doing their best to nab the suspect.

The body was discovered when the sweeper of the building went to switch off the lights in the morning.   This is the first murder reported in Thimphu this year.

 

By Kinga Dema

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