During the period 1980 to 1986 our house located in Indiranagar, Ramanthapur, Hyderabad was the last house. To the south, there was a water tank, and the house was in the foreshore area. In those days thieves were common in our area.
Once a group of thieve’s robbed a goldsmith’s family they were living behind the Satyanarayana Swamy temple. They have targeted this house mainly as they know this particular family was busy doing ornaments. They have locked the doors of the houses in the lane by latching them from outside. Then they broke the door of the Goldsmiths family with massive granite stones. There were about 10 people living in the house. They have beaten everyone in the family and took all the gold, including the gold ornaments they were wearing. On the way, they also tried another house. This house had steps from inside to reach the rooftop. So the owner of the house Mr. Swamy climbed the rooftop and called for help. The people in the neighborhood heard and they came to the rescue, by the time the thieves ran away. In the morning, it was a shock for everyone in our area. The police came with their sniffer dogs and started searching for the clues. The thieves escaped by running on the tank bund. After this incident, everyone in our area became alerted. This kind of thieve’s are also called “Bandi Potlu” in the local language. They not only steal by force but also harm the people.
To prevent any such incidents in the future, My father and his friends living in our area wanted to have a vigil in the night. They bought the Lathis (a five to six feet long sticks) and blower whistles. In a rotation, they used to do ‘gasthi’ or walk in groups in the streets all the night. Soon, they engaged the Nepali Gurkhas for guarding the area. The Gurkhas are from Nepal and are known for their bravery and honesty. They always kept a Gurkha knife with them. The whole night they walked in the streets. They tapped with their sticks now and then on the stones to make their presence felt. Their making sound did not disturb us, but those who woke up slept with more confidence feeling their presence. They did this voluntarily. At the beginning of every month, they came to each house with a notebook and a pen. Each person gave money as per their willingness and wrote the same in the book with their name. And they never complained about whatever they were given. Many times people busy with their daily chorus, asked to come again, they went and returned again on some other day.
Later in 2006, a theft happened in our house when there was no one at home for few days. I went to Delhi for a workshop. My parents went to our village and after returning saw that the main door of our house was broken. When they went inside, found that the two almirahs (cupboard) doors were found broken. We lost all the gold in the house. We went to the police station and made a complaint that is First Information Report (FIR). After two years, the police called and said that the thief was caught and he is under custody. Asked us to come and see the thieve. I was curious to see the thief. My father and myself, we both went to the place near ECIL, where all the thieves caught are kept for interrogation. I saw the thief; he was chained to a window bars and locked. There was no remorse or sorry attitude in him. I thanked him because for not making a significant loss to the almirah doors which he broke so skillfully. We could easily get the doors and locks repaired without much spending. Asked him, how and why he has chosen our house for committing theft. Our house was the corner house and had roads on two sides. He said that they made a reconnaissance for about two days and found that our house is locked and confirmed that we all are away, so chosen to commit theft. During the interrogation, the police got some information regarding our stolen gold.
The police told us a great story regarding the stolen gold. After committing the theft, he sold the gold at a place near Bangalore. They have committed many other thefts and were caught. The Bangalore police could retrieve our gold and given it to the victim from an influential family as a replacement, as they could not recover their gold from the same thief. After settling all that, the Bangalore police have handed him over to the Andhra Pradesh police. Therefore now they have the thieves and the story but not the stolen gold. This was one of the methods of doing justice by the police. Police pose for a photo with the thieves standing behind them and the statement below says, “the thieves are caught”. I just laugh. I told the police finally, to not to bother us further by calling us again with any relevance to this case. They are not able to return the gold which we have lost and already we lost sometimes in filing the FIR and following it up. And don’t want to waste our time listening to their stories. Anyway, they are not going to arrest the Bangalore police and retrieve our lost gold.