Hyderabad: Despite technological advancements, policemen in the rural areas depend on old practices when it comes to guarding police stations from antisocial elements.
The police keeps mongrels as pets in the police station compound or its vicinity to help them guard the police stations, especially at night. “This practice was implemented strictly when Mr Swaranjit Sen was DGP of united Andhra Pradesh. He had asked the police to keep dogs after there were a few instances of the police successfully foiling extremist attacks after being alerted by the barking of stray dogs,” said an inspector who worked in Nizamabad district then.
In rural areas, the police stations are located away from crowded places and are generally spread over a big area, housing barracks for policemen and residential quarters for officials. The premises are to be thoroughly guarded from any extremist or mob attack.
“As the dogs are believed to be able to sense danger, the policemen feed the dogs and keep them in the vicinity of camps and police stations. During the night, when there is likelihood of an attack, the dogs are kept around the stations. On spotting any intruder or sensing any impending danger they bark continuously alerting the sentry and the cops inside the police stations” said a sub-inspector working in Bhadradri Kothagudem, a Maoist violence affected district.
In districts, the police stations have camps for ‘outside forces’ that come for anti-Maoist operations including combing, road opening and other tasks. “Food prepared for the policemen is also given to the dogs. As food is easily available, the dogs hang around the police stations and camps all day and night,” said the SI.
The practice is unofficial now, as police stations are now equipped with closed circuit cameras to monitor the vicinity. At a few offices night vision cameras have also been installed. “But still the practice of keeping stray dogs continues even in the police stations on outskirts of the city where there is skeletal population in the surroundings of the police complexes,” said an inspector working in Rachakonda.
Police officials say that there are several instances, in Maoist and militancy affected areas, when attacks on camps and police stations were foiled after sentries were alerted by dogs that sensed impending danger or spotted intruders in pitch darkness during the night....