Hyderabad: The Lake Police has set another record by saving 50 lives in a span of 40 days, from January 1 to February 9. The most recent rescue was of a 67 year old woman who tried to commit suicide on the upper tank bund at 4 am on Sunday.
The Lake police on the picket rescued her and during the counselling she recounted that her four sons had refused to take care of her,
In a tweet a few weeks earlier, Hyderabad police commissioner Anjani Kumar had lauded the Lake police for saving so many lives. The most number of suicide attempts take place in the Hussainsagar. It’s a big task for the Lake police to pre-empt these attempts. Last year the police prevented 344 people from committing suicide in the lake.
The police take their job here seriously. “We will be vigilant all the time because our negligence can cost someone his or her life,” says constable Faizal.
Pawan Kumar, a Home Guard, says they scrutinise the fence carefully and if someone looks suspicious, one of them will try to converse with him/her and find out by the way they communicate if they are potential victims.
The police is often aided by the likes of B Yadagiri, 58, a masala-peanut seller on the Tank Bund, who has saved two people who tried to jump over the fence encircling the lake. He came to Hyderabad 25 ago from a small village, and since then has been selling on Tank Bund.
“We can make out if someone comes with the intent to commit suicide by their behaviour and the police respond immediately to our call,” said Yadagiri.
“There are almost 500 vendors around the lake... small street vendors who sell boiled corn, peanuts, etc. They are our main source of information. When someone comes to attempt suicide, they call and inform us about it, and our team rushes to the rescue in no time. After that, we see that they are comforted and then we give counselling and offer professional aid,” said Ms B. Dhanalaxmi, station house officer of the Lake Police.
She says women are in the majority and 90 per cent of attempts take place from Tank Bund which comes under the Gandhinagar police station. Many of those who attempt suicide are troubled in their personal lives for different reasons — family disputes, financial problems, failure in love or exams, depression, harassment by in-laws or husband, addiction to alcohol/toddy and so on, says Ms Dhanalaxmi.
She said the surroundings of the lake are tranquil and most people come here to relax, refresh themselves and heal their souls. “The area around Hussainsagar is rapidly developing into an international tourist spot. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and on public holidays public and government organisers conduct events at Necklace Road like awareness runs, walks, cycling, candle rallies, bike rallies etc. There are a number of film shootings on Necklace Road. Many events and exhibitions are held at People’s Plaza ground like the kite festival, food festivals, horticulture exhibition cum sale, handicrafts exhibition, car exhibition, games exhibition, crackers shops, Holi festival,” she said.
But these come with concomitant headaches of eve-teasing and pick-pocketing. “We are around 50 police personnel moving around the lake and controlling and maintaining the peaceful atmosphere. Eve-teasers are traced and picked up from all corners if I get to know,” the SHO said.
“I have worked in different police stations, but this posting has given me most job satisfaction and it gives great happiness when we save one life,” she said. She recalled that up to 100 suicides were being reported from the lake earlier.
Extra security is provided by mounted police who will be patrolling around the lake. Patrol cars and Blue Colts teams keep the area safe and secure. Most of Necklace Road has been fenced or has barricades of reasonable height to control access to the lake except the Tank Bund. The barricading on the Tank Bund at present is 1.16 metres high which even children can easily surmount to get access to the lake.