Police in bunker as office yet to be reconstructed
DIL BAHADUR CHHATYAL
DHANGADHI, APRIL 28: Woman police constable Shubhadra Shah starts worrying as evening sets in. Exhausted already with a day long duty, she is frustrated at having to undergo additional torture by living in a bunker at night.
Shah is just a case in a point. All police personnel serving with District Police Office, Achham, are forced to live a miserable life as the police office destroyed in course of Maoist insurgency is yet to be renovated.
Maoists had demolished the police office in course of their fierce clash with security personnel some seven years ago. The failure on the part of the government to renovate the demolished building has not only made police sleep in bunkers, but also run their office from the bunker itself.
"We are forced to sleep in dilapidated bunkers. It is very difficult to sleep in bunkers. Water gets in during rainy months. And our bodies get swollen due to cold during winter. There is danger of snakes and poisonous insects," Shah said, describing her hardships. “No one knows when we will get trapped in the bunker itself."
Shah said that she is forced to keep her infant along as there is no one at home to look after him.
Another woman police constable Suntali Dhami said she experiences swelling, cold and pain in the joints of hands and legs during winter and headache during summer season. “All the eight women constables sleep here together in the bunker. Even as we get totally exhausted during day we do not get good sleep,” she added.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Prem Karki said all woman police and about 30 policemen are forced to live in bunkers. "There is no office building. There is neither space for sleeping to police personnel," said Karki. “This has caused a big problem for us.”
What is more pitiable is that police are forced to keep the detained persons in the bunker as well. Police are left in constant worry as detainees often fall sick in the bunkers.
They are also forced to keep communication sets and office record files in the bunker itself.
There are two buildings including a barrack and DSP residence for a total 302 police personnel.
Maoists had attacked the police post on February 16, 2002. The demolished police office has failed to draw attention of the government even as the party that destroyed the police office building heads the government now.
Police officials said the government has failed to heed to their demand despite the fact that they have repeatedly requested the government in writing about this.
I felt pity seeing the state of police office in Achham. How can police be active is such condition and serve people," said former Inspector General of Police Moti Lal Bohora. “It is sad that concerned authorities have failed to heed to their demand."