As Bengalureans look forward to ring in the New Year, a fear lurks in their mind of hooligans targeting women and other revellers in the party hubs of M.G. Road, Brigade Road and 100 Ft Road in Indiranagar where thousands gather to celebrate. Mass molestation of women on MG Road and Brigade Road over the last two years has made partygoers wary. But the city police say that they have plugged holes in the security system and are geared up to ensure a safe and incident-free New Year’s Eve this year, reports Nikhil G. and
The city police are leaving nothing to chance when it comes to maintaining the law and order situation in the city on December 31 night when thousands of revellers hit the street to usher in the New Year.
The focus is not just M.G. Road and Brigade Road, which draw the biggest crowds every year, but also Electronic City, Whitefield and Central Business District.
An officer, who wished not to be identified, said that senior police officers from across the city met recently and decided not to compromise on any aspect of security. “There will be 20,000 policemen and women, including those from the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP), and home guards across the city. Over 3,000 policemen will be deployed on MG Road and Brigade Road alone. We have also got orders from the top to keep a tight check in tech hubs, like Whitefield and Electronic City,” he said.
“We have issued orders to all pubs, restaurants and New Year Eve events not to overcrowd the venues and not to sell extra tickets. Police stations in respective areas will keep an eye on any such violations. Owners and managements of pubs, bars and restaurants have been strictly told that such violations will not be tolerated. If any untoward incident is reported, we will ensure that licences of such pubs or restaurants are cancelled. Every pub and bar should have its own security personnel, including women security staff,” he said.
The officer said that 500 Hoysalas and 300 Cheetah bikes will be on the streets patrolling every road. “All patrolling vehicles will start their beat in the evening and continue till early hours of the next morning without a stop. The moment they see chaotic or suspicious scenes, they will alert the nearest police station and immediate action will be taken. We have told them that common people should not be disturbed, but anyone found creating ruckus in the name of New Year celebrations should be arrested on the spot. As has been the practice over the last few years, we will have drone cameras, watchtowers and CCTV cameras across the city,” the officer said.
Another officer said that flyovers will be closed from 10 pm to 6 am to avoid reckless driving. “Checks against drunk and reckless driving will begin from 10 pm and revellers should arrange their own drop facility to avoid accidents,” he said.
A few pub and bar managers said that they have security in place and installed CCTV cameras at strategic points. Mr Antony Smith, a manager at a well-known pub on MG Road, said, “We were issued directions from the police a couple of months ago and we have ensured that the primary aspect, which is the security, is in place with private security guards and CCTV cameras. If there is any chaos, we will take control but if it is beyond our control, the police will be informed.”
Plans have been chalked out to ensure a safe New Year’s Eve celebration across the city, especially on MG Road and Brigade Road, where a large number of people congregate. We have planned security deployment similar to last year, but this time we have worked on the minor security lapses that occurred last year. This year, we will make sure that there will not be a single untoward incident. Seemanth Kumar Singh, DCP (East).
For a safe and incident free New Year’s Eve, the Bengaluru traffic police will ban the movement of vehicles, divert traffic and enforce parking restrictions on major arterial roads in the Central Business District of the city.
The traffic police will deploy over 2,000 men on the city streets for monitoring traffic and on bandobast duty. The East, West and North divisions have been divided into 17, 20 and 7 sectors respectively. Each sector will be supervised by a traffic police inspector, who will get instructions from ACPs, DCPs and Additional Commissioner of Police, Traffic.
To prevent accidents, barricades will be put up on all prominent roads where speeding is noticed. No vehicles, except police vehicles, will be allowed from 8 pm on December 31 till 2 am on January 1 on M.G. Road from Anil Kumble Junction up to Mayo Hall Junction, on Brigade Road up to Opera Junction, Church Street, Museum Road from its junction with the M.G. Road up to its junction with Old Madras Bank Road, Rest House Road from its Museum Road junction till Brigade Road junction, Kamaraj Road between K.R. Road- Cubbon Roads Jn. and Cauvery Arts and Crafts Emporium and Residency Cross Road from Residency Road to M.G. Road (Shankarnag Theatre junction).
All flyovers will be closed for traffic from 9 pm on December 31 till 6 am January 1 to avoid accidents.
After 8 pm on December 31, vehicles coming from Queen’s Statue junction on M.G. Road and proceeding towards Halasuru and beyond will turn left at Anil Kumble Circle, at B.R.V. Junction, turn right into Cubbon Road and proceed on Cubbon Road and join M.G. Road near Webb’s Junction.
Vehicles coming from Trinity Circle on M.G. Road should take the right turn at Webbs Junction and turn left at Manipal Centre into Cubbon Road and proceed further ahead. Vehicles proceeding in the direction of Cantonment areas, from Halasuru will turn right near Trinity Circle and enter Halasuru Road, turn left on Dickenson Road and proceed towards Cubbon Road.
Vehicles coming from Cash Pharmacy and Old P.S. Junction going towards Opera Junction, should move on Museum Road, SBI Circle, St. Mark’s Road, Anil Kumble Circle, BRV Junction and further ahead.
Vigil up, but people fear hooliganism
The people expressed fears that the revelry on the December 31 night might lead to untoward incidents. But the police have assured the public that no such incidents will be allowed to take place.
Mr Mohan Kumar, a resident of Kammanahalli, said, “Every year, the police tighten the vigil, but something or the other goes wrong. We can’t blame the police always, as people too should be responsible while celebrating the New Year’s. The police should act strict and instil fear among hooligans.”
He said, “The moment we think of New Year, incidents of molestation comes to our mind. But it should not happen this year. We need to feel safe and it’s in the hands of the police and public.”
Ms Suhasini Rao, a regular club hopper on December 31 night, said that she is not going out this year as she is feeling unsafe. “The city has changed so much. It was not the case just a few years ago. Every night of December 31, there would be celebrations and we would visit pubs and restaurants without any fear. But for the last two years, I have stopped going out fearing what would happen. I don’t feel safe even with friends around. Our only hope is that the city police would step up vigil and ensure that anyone creating ruckus is arrested immediately,” she said.
The police have already stepped up security and are doing the rounds of sensitive areas. A senior police officer said, “Our priority is public safety and we will not compromise on it. Everyone has their right to enjoy responsibly. It is a group of few young people who think they can take advantage and visit crowded areas. But this time we have eyes all over and we are geared up to tackle any situation.” Asked about a few Right wing activists protesting against New Year’s celebrations, the officer said that they have no such information.