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Security strengthened but questions remain

Sarpang kidnaps : While bilateral talks were held between Bhutan and India to tighten security at the bordering towns, police have started constructing an outpost below Sarpang town.

The construction near the old Hindu Mandir, about 200 metres below Sarpang town, began last week and police have also reinforced their strength in Sarpang.

Five policemen, on rotation, patrol Sarpang town everyday.

But people living near the border that saw a spate of abductions still question how and why the incidences occurred.

“When such incidences occur time and again, it clearly shows that they know our weakness,” a 43-year old civil servant in Gelephu said. “It’s time government takes it seriously.”

In the first incident, where taxi driver Binulal Sunwar was pulled out of his Santro taxi on the evening of October 22 last year while plying the Sarpang-Gelephu highway, he claimed he saw another taxi driver with his abductors.

“I know him and saw him in Tsirang that afternoon. He was with the abductors and he didn’t report to police that I was being kidnapped,” Binulal Sunwar alleged. “I feel he should be questioned and his phone records tracked.”

Gelephu SP, lt. colonel Phub Dorji, however, said that the taxi driver who Binulal Sunwar saw with the kidnappers was also a kidnap victim. It could not be established why the kidnappers released him but he told police that he was released after he requested kidnappers that he had family.

Police claimed that it was the same people who kidnapped Tsip (astrologer) Dorji from his neighbor’s house on the night of November 16 and taxi driver Binulal Sunwar.

Several people have been apprehended in connection with the kidnapping including some locals but kidnap victim Binulal Sunwar said he was not aware of it.

Meanwhile, the relatives of Kiran Chetri, 18, who was kidnapped from Sarpang town last month alleged that police harassed him following media reports that police did not respond when they dialed 113. “We were told that when you dial 113 from Tashicell, it goes to Gelephu and not Sarpang,” a relative said.

Tashi Cell’s area manager in Gelephu, Sonam Rinchen, said no complaints were lodged about the 113 problem and they were not aware of such a problem in Sarpang. “Our network officials say such problems arise because of technical issue,” he said.

Sarpang and Gelephu residents say that police should write to Tashicell and seek an explanation for such problems, if it is true. “We are living in a small society and concerned agencies should communicate and solve the problem,” a businessman said. “113 is for emergency and it should serve its purpose.”

By Tashi Dema

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  1. First we have to know what is perpetuating this problem? Abductors are highly motivated to take up kidnapping job across the broder because it pays off well – high money plus weak security (security people do nothing even when abductors enter with arms in the broad day light). Last time, the incident occured in the broad day light and police personnel were watching nicely from the road.

    Later, we were told that the police personnel fired a at someone but we heard it happened to be a innocent wood cutter in the forest. Why could they not open fire immediately?

    It is a question of responsibility, authority and accountability. If the police personnel are accountable, why are they not tried for failing in their duty. Looks like police personnel are enjoying the scenes. There are cases where they have been raping minors. It is a sign of complacency and flattening their already bulging bellies.

    Till date, we never heard any action being taken on on the police personnel who failed in their duty that day. Looks like they are not accountable. If they are not accountable, who is expected to provide secutity services in such areas. We are really surprised. Similar were the cases with the intrudors from Assam and Bengal earlier (Our security personnel did not do anything and such behaviours encouraged more people to come inside)

    It is high time, some action has to be taken on the people who failed in their duty – could be administration or security people.

    Now building an outpost near old Hindu Mandir does nothing. In fact petrolling the borders and reinforcing intelligence should be given priority. All our security forces must be sent to the borders rather than keeping them in the town.

    We are fully confused on this situation. Reports just say, “investigation is on”. We never heard any findings and results. Ministry of Home mayhave to give priority to protect our borders. If Minister is busy with the ACC case, high time to appoint interim minister or Seceretary should take charge. We can not leave things in limbo on security fronts

  2. Building outposts and reinforcing the number of constables does not help in this problem. Last time, during the broad day light, a huge number of police personnel were watching the abductors in front of their eyes and the boy crying and shouting. What could police do?

    Police must be empowered to handle such a situation. Problems occurs in the broder and then waiting for orders from up to catch or open fire takes time. This may done for reasons but people are suffering.

    We are just waiting to see who the next unlucky person will it be to be kidnapped. Building outposts does not help in such a problem

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