Written by Pallavi Singhal
| Panchkula |

Published: July 5, 2020 10:02:51 am

Spate of robberies in Raipurrani leaves farmers distraught, ek raat mai sab chala gya, says victim Ranjiv Kumar is one among many such people residing in Raipurrani, who have lost their glimmer of hope towards a better future as a string of thefts and robberies have hit the district. (Representational Image)

Ranjiv Kumar, a 39-year-old farmer residing in Sakarpur village of Raipurrani, is left distraught after he was robbed of the only savings he had managed during the lockdown, along with his ancestral jewellery that he would have used for his daughter’s wedding.

Kumar is one among many such people residing in Raipurrani, who have lost their glimmer of hope towards a better future as a string of thefts and robberies have hit the district.

Since June 4, soon after the country went into unlock phase I, as many as seven thefts and robberies were reported from different villages of the district. The theft victims were mostly farmers or owners of small shops, who had already been struggling to make ends meet due to the lockdown.

At least two FIRs of vehicle and oxen theft have been registered since the unlock began. The most recent FIR has been filed in a robbery incident reported from Sakarpur village of Raipurrani on the intervening night of June 1 and 2. As a family of five slept in the verandah outside the house, Ranjiv’s 75-year-old mother, who had gotten up to use the washroom around 1.15 am, spotted that the lights of one of the rooms were switched on.

Unsuspecting, as she entered the room, she was pushed by a man whose face was covered with a cloth. The family woke up to the shrieks of their mother. Ranjiv was hit with a shock after he realised that his savings of Rs 10,000 and their jewels had been stolen.

“The amount may not be much for people who worked throughout the lockdown and got steady amounts of payment or for the middle class. But it was a lot for us. I had jewels saved for my daughter’s wedding. Who will wed her now?” he asks, crying.

He has also alleged that this was the eighteenth such burglary in Raipurrani. Kumar says that most of the burglary incidents have not been reported as the victims say that “the police will do nothing”.

Ranjiv owns a small amount of land which he used for sowing wheat and had now begun sowing paddy. The amount lost was to be used for fertilising and ploughing the farm he owned. “Farmers do not have a lot of money, whatever we earn we put in the land we have,” he says.

Even though Ranjiv had had a good harvest and had sold it at the government rate of Rs 1,925 per quintal through ‘arthiyas’, owning a small size of land does not give him much produce and the family survives on the earnings received every season. The lockdown has also hit him hard, as he would have otherwise earned some money by working as a daily wager.

“Humara to ek raat mai sab chala gaya (I lost everything in one night),” he sobs.

Meanwhile, the police has taken cognisance of the rising number of burglaries being reported in the area. The police station of Raipurrani, which has as many as 74 villages under it and only one police post, has been struggling for manpower. Approximately 40 police persons hold charge of defending all 74 villages.

SHO Inspector Ram Pal said, the police station has been provided with an added force of almost 10 officers to man the check posts that have been set up. “We have set up 4-5 check posts especially on border areas of Raipurrani which remain manned at night. We have also held meetings with sarpanches and BDOs of the area. Some have decided to set up thikri pehras as well,” he says.

The Inspector has also stated that the occurrence of such incidences is “seasonal” and that “it happens during the summers as all sleep outside while houses are left vacant. It will stop once monsoon arrives.”

In a meeting held on Friday, Sarpanches decided to start ‘thikri pehras’ in their respective villages. Sarpanch Swaranjit Kaur of Narayanpur said, “We had already been conducting the pehra throughout the lockdown and upon instructions from the police, again started it Friday night. We have a groups of youngsters who observe the pehra each night.”

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