After learning that Yasin Bhatkal, the alleged mastermind of the Chinnaswamy stadium twin blasts and explosion at the German Bakery in Pune, stayed in a rented room in Tumkur, police are now seriously taking steps to make tenant verification mandatory.
They’ll enforce the rule under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), commonly used to impose prohibitory orders. Additional commissioner of police (law & order) T Suneel Kumar on Thursday told TOI that Section 144 enables police to issue orders to house owners, asking them to provide information about tenants. In the case of foreign nationals, landlords should provide a copy of the passport and other travel documents as well as purpose of stay. In case of Indian citizens, a copy of rental or lease agreement along with passports, contact numbers, order of appointment with the employer and their PAN card or any other official identity document.
House owners who don’t comply with this order can be punished under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code which attracts a month’s simple imprisonment or fine or both.
“Tenant verification should be given priority when we talk about safety and security in Bangalore. We plan to conduct special drives and meet all house owners, and we’re looking for the background of their tenants,” Sunil Kumar said.
According to him, the problem is more acute on the outskirts and in rural areas. “Most owners do not cross-check the antecedents of their tenants. If a young stranger asks to take the house on rent saying he is a student, they simply take it at face value. They’re happy as long as the tenant pays the rent in time. They’re least bothered about their activities,” he said.
“I’ll discuss the matter with senior police officials, including commissioner BG Jyothi Prakash Mirji, before making an announcement. I request citizens to be wary when giving the house or PG accommodation on rent or lease. House owners should cooperate with us on this as it’s of utmost importance in view of the safety and security of citizens,” he added.
Meanwhile, a senior police officer on condition of anonymity recalled how Bangladeshis, around 50 in number, fled the city when police from the north-east conducted a verification drive in 2009. “Most were employed at the Bengaluru International Airport. What’s worrying is that these Bangladeshis use to clean the runway. What if there were any terrorists among them? All were smuggled into our country and they didn’t have any legal residence documents. Till date, there are more than 50,000 Bangladeshis in the city, all of them illegal migrants,” he added.