Lucknow: No murders or
kidnappings, not even petty crimes like chain snatchings and
thefts in the past 15 years! This is the proud record of a small
village in eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Welcome to Takhta village in Gorakhpur district, some 300 km from
Lucknow, whose 1,500-odd residents take pride in the unique
distinction of their native place.
And if you think it's only the locals who claim that Takhta is
"the crime-free world of Uttar Pradesh", you are wrong.
Even the records of the Sahjanwa police station, under whose
jurisdiction the village falls, attest the villagers' claim.
"Even I was surprised when I came to know about the unique
distinction of the village... It appeared unbelievable to me too
when I was attached to the police station three years ago," acting
Station House Officer (SHO) Lallan Singh told IANS on phone from
"Forget about the major crimes like murders or kidnapping, even
petty crimes like chain snatchings and thefts have not taken place
in the village. Every police officer would surely wish the areas
coming under his jurisdiction transforms to a Takhta," added
In fact, he was at a loss to even locate the details of the last
crime registered at the police station.
"You know old records have to be opened for this... It would be a
time-consuming process," he said.
So, what's the secret?
Locals say their crime-free status does not mean the absence of
disputes, but the presence of effective redressal mechanisms.
Like other villagers, Takhta residents too witness disputes among
themselves, but those are solved by the intervention of the elders
and the panchayat members of the village.
"It's not that differences do not take place among the villagers.
For example, incidents of land encroachments and land grabbing,
which are common in almost all the villages, take place in Takhta
as well. But all such issues and others are settled following the
intervention of the elders," former village head S.P. Tripathi,
aged around 65 years, told IANS on phone.
"Whenever a villager feels that he has been cheated or has any
type of complaint against his neighbours or any other person of
the village, he approaches the village elders, who then try to
settle the dispute," Tripathi added.
According to locals, it's the faith in the elders and their
respect towards them which have made their village a study in
"It would not be wrong if we call our village a small, crime-free
world. It's only because of the locals that the village has earned
this unique identity. Had we been approaching the police every now
and then to settle disputes, surely such a distinction would not
have been possible," said Harikrishna Tiwari, 65, a farmer and a
proud native of Takhta village.
Of the 1,500-odd residents of Takhta, 75 percent are from the
upper castes, primarily from the Brahmin community, with farming
as their main occupation. A number of residents have also taken up
jobs in public and private sector companies.
The village's crime-free status is even more remarkable when
compared to the rest of the state.
In 2009, a total of 148,012 criminal incidents took place in Uttar
Pradesh, which included 4,004 murders, 2,066 dowry deaths and
The figure for 2010 (till 20 Nov) is 144,675, which includes 3,782
murders, 1,923 dowry deaths and 1,216 rapes, official records
(Asit Srivastava can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)