It really appears to be easy to flee from the police in Goa.
The escape by Ramchandra or Ramchandran of Ramcharappa is the second in the State in six months by a person accused of rape and undergoing tiral. The first was in December last year when Ishwar Makhwan the main accused in the horrific Betalbatim rape case, the worst in recent years. While Ramchandrappa is accused of raping a foreign tourist in Canacona, Makhwan, along with his companions, is accused of raping a girl in front of her boyfriend and filming the crime to use the footage to blackmail the victim. The Betalbatim crime had shocked Goa and a stunned population had yet to recover from it when it learnt that the prime accused Makhwan has a dark history in Indore, with eight rapes, 12 robberies and three murders, including a double murder.
Now two rape accused are out, both having escaped from custody. The first from a hospital bed and the second when he was taken to court for a hearing and complained of suffering from loose motions. Both are inexplicable. Just what was the escort team doing when Ramchandra made his escape? One prisoner and two escort members and the prisoner easily escapes. Nobody chased him so he gets away. Is it really so easy to slip away from the clutches of the police and that too from a court building by jumping out of a toilet window? Besides, Margao is not so crowded a town that a person escaping from the police can get lost in multitude. This escape needs to be investigated further, to determine whether there was any prior planning involved or whether the prisoner just saw the chance to get away and did. The latter proposition appears unlikely. It absolves the police of complicity but shows plain incompetence.
This is yet another dismal performance by the Police Department, that has little of note to show for itself. Yes, the man was identified and arrested within 24 hours of the crime, but then this escape takes place and all the good work is nullified. The escort team members have, as expected, already been suspended, but the inherent inefficiency that surfaces whenever there is an escape will not be tackled. Recall that over six months after Makhwan escaped from his hospital bed, the police are no nearer finding him, and they now have another escaped prisoner to hunt for. When will he be caught? Now, that is a question, for whose answer we will have to wait until he is caught, or it will remain unanswered if he is never caught.
There does appear to be a high degree of laxity in the police force. In the past months since November last, a number of policemen have been suspended, some of them for their high-handed attitude when dealing with the common man. It is strange that the men and women in uniform will act tough with law-abiding citizens, but are unable to exercise the same kind of sterness with the criminal class.
There also has been an uncanny silence from the political class on the escape of the rape accused. Whenever there is a rape of a foreign tourist in Goa, the State gets maligned in the international media, especially in countries from where tourists originate. This is not going to be treated differently and Goa is once again going to find itself in the eye of a minor international media storm. The government too should come out strongly on the manner in which the police handle their escort duties, when taking prisoners to court or for medical treatment. It really can’t be this easy to escape from the police and then remain quiet about it.