The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday set guidelines for preventing large congregations for New Year celebrations and directed the state government and the police to ensure they are followed.
A Division Bench of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya and Justice Kaushik Chand directed the chief secretary and the home secretary to ensure there is no overcrowding on New Year’s Eve. The judges told the police to identify the areas where large crowds might gather, and distribute masks, sanitisers at check-posts.
Sources in the police said the department was instructed to control the crowd on New Year’s Eve. The Kolkata Police has decided to change its strategy following an unexpectedly large Christmas crowd at the Park Street-Alipore Zoo stretch on Christmas Eve. Police presence is expected to be doubled in areas such as Park Street and Esplanade.
In October, the court had banned visitors’ entry to Durga Puja pandals (marquees), and directed organisers to put up barricades outside pandals. The following month, the court banned crackers during Diwali, Kali Puja and Chhath Puja. Last week, the matter of New Year celebrations was brought to the court’s attention.
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