As the state witnessed a gruesome murder right on the commercial city’s street – in broad daylight – last week, several establishments and traders, not just in the Margao city, but across the state, have raised their apprehensions on the law and order situation.
The police authorities, considering the grave issue, have pulled up their socks and have begun working robust plans to increase surveillance and patrolling to ensure the citizens, and especially the ‘soft targets’ – jewellery stores – are provided with adequate security at all times.
Swapnil Walke – the owner of Krishni Jewellers – was attacked by armed men, who, according to police, had a motive to rob the jewellery store. But as Swapnil declined to pay heed to their demands, the accused shot Swapnil and later stabbed him, and the resulting scuffle outside his shop was caught on video by several onlookers.
Post the incident, several jewellery store owners requested for adequate security to be provided in and around the market area, as a sense of fear continues to – and will always remain – among several of the jeweller’s in the city.
A delegation of jewellery store owners had earlier met the police, including the DGP, and had listed their demands, to which the police have agreed and have now increased the patrolling and CCTV surveillance in the city.
“A police booth was set up in the market area where majority of the jewellery stores are situated, but more needs to be done to curb such incidents,” said a jewellery store owner from the city.
Meanwhile, the police have begun patrolling the city with armed police personnel with an aim to instil a sense of security among the citizens. Also, the jewellers have expressed their satisfaction with the measures being taken by the police to provide security around the city.
“Whatever demands we have had; we have already discussed with them (police officials). They have already given us with security arrangements. Right now, we have to provide our own security for us. From our side we have to think about our safety as well,” said Aditya Raikar, owner of ANTA jewellers.
He added, “There is some kind of fear still after this incident. With the pandemic situation, and many being jobless, we are soft targets as jewellers.”
The same opinion of jewellers being soft targets was reciprocated by several other jewellery store owners whom Goa Prism spoke to.
Another local store owner also added that the police have listened to their requests and have acted, but the onus also lies on the individual shop owners to have proper security arrangements at their shops for themselves.
“The police are doing their job very well. It is also the jeweler’s responsibility to enable their own security, as every time police will not be able to be there around each store,” said Mahesh B., manager at PNG Jewellers store in the commercial city.
With job losses during the current pandemic, jewellery store owners have become soft targets, with many looking at petty crimes due to various issues.
Several store owners, acknowledging that they have become soft targets, also added that each owner must ensure proper security arrangements at their store; not just in the nights, but also during the day.
Besides security provided by the police, the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) has finally woken up and decided to fix the CCTV cameras across the city, as it was reported earlier that none of the surveillance cameras are operational.
As several store owners’ inch towards normality after the incident, the ground reality is that a sense of fear among the locals continues to prevail, but most hope that such criminal incidents do not occur again in the state and that security arrangements are followed regularly, and are not just a one-week display.