Express News Service
RAIPUR: The Gariyaband police arrested a man from Odisha for smuggling 171 pieces of precious rough diamonds in last September and in February this year, they seized 221 pieces of these precious gemstones worth Rs 25 lakh, all thanks to a unique strategy involving the locals that has helped big time to nab inter-state gangs.
Gariyaband in central India has been a fertile ground for smugglers for many years as the region is known for diamondiferous kimberlite rocks.
The police have earned bragging rights, and rightly so, after they were able to catch hold of 10 diamond smugglers, 44 drug peddler and nine others for wildlife crimes in the past one year. All these arrests are a result of securing the trust and cooperation of the local population.
“We made a new beginning on winning the confidence of the locals. There was a persistent challenge to rein-in the diamond smuggling in Gariyaband. The unscrupulous offenders from within and outside the state were seen involved in frantic digging in search of precious stones as this part of India has vast deposits of diamondiferous kimberlite rocks,” said Bhojram Patel, district police chief, who introduced a new facility. He started a practise called ‘Chaiyanha’ which translates to a ‘place for relaxation’ in Chhattisgarhi dialect.
The practice provides a dedicated space constructed within the police station premises where every complaint is given a patient hearing by the cops who ensure the visitors get freedom from anxiety or hesitation and leave with a firm belief in the due process of law.
“This exercise between the locals and the police helped build the trust. There has been a consistent decline in grievances. We strengthened our information network which helped us in a big way to nab the major players in the diamond smuggling network besides the police also busted massive drug trafficking rackets,” the SP added.
“The practice of SP Patel made me feel like I am a guardian of the police team. He and his team listened and explained to to all visitors patiently,” said Girdhari Sahu, 67, a senior citizen from Payalikhand, a diamond-rich belt in the district.
During the past one year, the district police had seized 1112 rough diamonds having an international price of around Rs 1.5 crore and over 800 kg of narcotic drugs.