History of Crime in Delhi

Understanding Crime in Delhi

In recent years, Delhi has emerged as the crime and rape capital of India. My relations have lived in Delhi since 1928 and  I would like make an attempt to explain the reasons for high crime rate in Delhi. This information is based on what I have learned from my grandparents over time. Let's look at the evolution of Delhi as a cosmopolitan city over last three centuries.

Figure 1: Old Mughal Delhi in 18th Century
* The Mughal Delhi was a smaller city with rural villages scattered in outskirts. These were mostly populated by criminal tribes who would rob caravans and travelers at night. These tribes took advantage of anarchy after 1857 and joined the infamous "Pindari" gangs also known as "Thugs". The highway robbery became such a problem that the British had to use army to make the highways safe for public.
Figure 2: Thugs executed publicly by British 
* New Delhi was created by British to establish a modern city with European architecture like Connought Place, Viceroy's House, Parliament House and many new residential areas. To control the law and order in the new city, Delhi Police were only hired from Punjab. The big tall Sikhs from Punjab instilled fear among these criminal gangs and Delhi was kept crime-free.
Figure 3: New Delhi Police - Early 20th Century

* 1947 saw migration of Punjabi Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan. These hardworking people soon became the backbone of Delhi's middle class economy. The taxi drivers were hired from Punjab and it is a folklore how women in Delhi felt safe taking a taxi ride at night from a Sikh taxi driver.

Figure 4: Refugee Camp - New Delhi
* But there were two disconnected Delhis - an urban Delhi and a rural Delhi. The urban Delhi was upbeat with hustle and bustle of a big city but the rural Delhi was backward and underdeveloped. After 1947, the government stopped using Punjab Police and started recruiting from same rural areas of Delhi.

Figure 5: New face of Delhi Police post independence
* As Delhi expanded, the property prices of land in outskirts rose astronomically and the land became gold. Many villagers sold their lands and became rich overnight. With wealth they began to indulge in politics and power-play in the city. The politicians from these villages like Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tokas, and Balwan Khokhar come from criminal background. A nexus between the Police, criminal and politicians was clearly established.

Figure 6: Outer Delhi Congressman Sajjan Kumar with Delhi Police
* This nexus was very effective in 1984 violence against the Sikhs. During the anti-Sikh violence after assassination of India Gandhi, the Sikh taxi and bus drivers became easy targets. Now taxi and bus services in Delhi are controlled by same politicians and criminals were hired as drivers. This is how they began to control the streets of Delhi.
Figure 7: Sikh Bus driver being beaten by gangs on the streets of Delhi
* The nexus between the outer Delhi politicians, bus service operators, bus drivers, taxi drivers and their connections to crime in Delhi needs to be investigated. .

Figure 8: Undisciplined and rude taxi and bus drivers in Delhi
* Equally important is how to isolate Delhi Police from the influence of corrupt and criminally minded politicians and local criminals from the rural area of Delhi.


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