Out in the open: city sees a spurt in daylight murders

At a time when the police are planning to bring the city under a web of CCTV cameras by September, goons seem to be undeterred by the possibility of getting caught in the act.

In brazen attacks carried out in broad daylight, armed gangs — mostly hired goons — have started murdering people, history-sheeters, in particular, on roads in full public glare.

Thirty-eight year-old Suresh was the latest victim. On Thursday morning, he was attacked and murdered by a gang near a school where he had dropped his children in the morning.

School students and parents were witness to the brutal murder. “It was chilling. It happened at our doorstep. We may not be able to sleep for a week,” an eyewitness said.

The daylight attacks are premeditated and usually carried out to settle scores due to previous enmity among anti-socials, police said.

T.C.S. Raja Chockalingam, a former district judge, said, “Although the crime rate has drastically reduced over the years, the pattern of murders is changing. The offenders now plan and commit murders in public places and in broad daylight without any qualms.”

One such instance was the murder of J. Vijayakumar by a gang on a busy road in Mannady last November. The gang chased him when he came out of the George Town court. CCTV footage showed him running for his life in a narrow pathway and falling down. The gang took just 30 seconds to kill him and escape.

Kandhan, a 43-year-old real estate businessman, was hacked to death in broad daylight by four persons, even as his college-going daughter watched helplessly in West Mambalam on the morning of January 9.

On April 1, Harikrishnan, a murder suspect, was killed in the Vyasarpadi police station limits on a busy morning by a four-member gang.

The incident was caught on camera and went viral on social media. The next day, ‘Muttai’ Gopi, a former gangster, stopped at a roadside tea stall at Moolakadai only to be hacked to death by a gang of six.

81 murders recorded

Till June, 81 murders have been recorded in the city. Last year, 145 persons were murdered.

Analysing the pattern of crime, M. Karunanidhi, a former police officer, said that several judicial interventions restrict police from functioning effectively. “These days, anti-social elements have no fear of police. Moreover, there is less interaction between the police and the public to identify criminals and detain them.”

Asked about the increasing frequency of day-time murders, a police officer said that the movements of rowdies were restricted at night due to patrolling.

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