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Cordon and search held in Warangal; now a pan Telangana operation

Hyderabad: The Warangal police on Sunday conducted a cordon and search at Narmetta Village on Saturday. Claiming that it was done for betterment of the community, the police said it interacted with the villagers, reportedly to discuss the use and benefits of CCTV cameras, use and sale of illegal drugs, traffic rules, ID liquor (Indian-made foreign liquor), etc.

This comes just days after the Hyderabad city police was criticized for conducting cordon and search operations in the city, which is a military counterinsurgency tactic used in certain areas to look for weapons or insurgents. It is one of the basic military operations used world wide.

When contacted, commissioner of Warangal police Tarun Joshi told that the cordon and search operations are community contact and public outreach programs done to create awareness about trends in crime, road safety, and discuss public issues, etc.

“These searches are done on a regular basis and at least 20 search operations take place in Warangal every month. We talk to people about crimes and frauds and inform them of government schemes for the aid of the public etc. During the outreach programs, we even conduct document verification of vehicles in the area,” Joshi clarified.

However, it may be noted that many, including activists, have come down heavily on the police for cordon and search operations. Concerned citizens are generally of the opinion this tactic essentially targets marginalised communities living in slums and poorer localities, where such operations are mostly done.

Independent researcher Srinivas Kodali, who is currently working on right to privacy issues of the public, said, “If it is an awareness program, it should be conducted by a ministry responsible for the said purpose. If it is a public outreach program why is it called a search? What are they searching for?”