After Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh decided to set a 1.30 am as New Years deadline for eateries and pubs in the city despite a government circular allowing an extension till 5 am for establishments serving liquor the Thane and Navi Mumbai police chiefs have followed suit,citing concerns of serious crimes and law and order disruptions.
On Sunday,Thane Police Commissioner K P Raghuvanshi and Navi Mumbai Commissioner A K Sharma said they too had ordered pubs and eateries to shut shop by 1.30 am. Meanwhile,the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR),said it would approach the Bombay High Court on Monday if Singh stuck to his decision.
This is not a case of moral policing. On New Years eve,the city is prone to crime and law and order problems. There are security threats,and the vulnerability of women increases with inebriated crowds. We want to prevent any serious crimes. We are sticking to Mumbais deadline,as otherwise,the rules would be different if one merely crosses over from Mumbai into Thane, said Raghuvanshi.
Sharma said,We will go with the decision of the Mumbai Police and the Thane Police. He,however,did not offer any reasons.
Singh said,The government has allowed unit commanders to exercise their discretion. Last year,we kept the deadline at 1.30 am. The decision has been taken in the best interest of the city,which is always vulnerable on December 31,and we want to avoid incidents of eve-teasing and molestation. No permissions have been given for boat parties. We want people to enjoy themselves,but not go overboard.
Singhs order came as a blow to hotels across Mumbai. Preparing for the new year involves huge investments. The decision was unexpected and we have written to Singh,asking him to revisit it, said AHAR president Arvind Shetty.
Singh revoked permission keeping in mind a potential law and order situation,and the problems faced by residents. Shetty,however,said the reasons provided by Singh could not justify this.
Hotelier Shailendra Shetty,the proprietor of Central Lunch Home in Colaba,said the enforced deadline would create an added law and order problem. People will start drinking on the streets. Singh says that the extended deadline will require additional force. In any case,new years eve sees heavy deployment all over the city, he said.