Since Diwali, the Mumbai Police has booked over 100 people for flouting the Supreme Court order allowing bursting of firecrackers only between 8 pm and 10 pm. As many as 19 people have been booked in neighbouring Thane.
“Between Wednesday and Friday, police stations across the city have booked more than 100 people for flouting the SC order on bursting crackers,” said DCP Manjunath Singe, Mumbai Police spokesperson.
Twelve people have also been arrested in and around Mumbai for allegedly bursting crackers on Diwali beyond the 8 pm to 10 pm window. They were later granted bail.
The police, meanwhile, said that owing to the SC guidelines, footfall at public places where firecrackers are usually burst, saw a dip this Diwali. “There was a noticeable slump in the number of people who burnt crackers at night. Public areas like Shivani Park, Haji Ali and Worli Seaface were quiet on Thursday and Friday,” said an officer.
While most of the offenders were aware of the SC rule, they didn’t believe it would be followed through with so much gusto.
Vikki Kannoj, a resident of Kalyan who was detained for bursting crackers after 10 pm, said: “Every year, after performing Diwali rituals at home, we burst firecrackers. This year, I was with my family members, and we were late in starting to burst firecrackers. I was with a friend when the police patrol car found us, after which we were detained.” Kannoj was let off after being served a notice and a warning. He is now required a secure bail from a local court.
Thane police officers said they had taken various measures to sensitise the public about the SC order. “Police stations conducted meetings with youths informing them about the Supreme Court decision. Also, various notices were issued for the public at community centres and religious places,” said a senior officer.
Inspector Nasir Kulkarni of Kasarwadavli police station, where one such case has been registered, said: “We had been conducting patrols to ensure that firecrackers aren’t burst after the stipulated time period. On Friday, however, we found a man bursting crackers around midnight near a residential complex. He was booked.”
“The accused have been booked under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of IPC and under the Maharashtra (Bombay) Police Act. They have been issued notices and asked to present themselves before the police or the court. They have also warned that stricter action would be taken against them if they were again found flouting any law,” he added.
Meanwhile, 53 cases have been registered in Mumbai in connection to illegal sale of crackers. “Many people had erected makeshift stalls made of cloth and wood, which would be a fire hazard in a public place,” said DCP Singe. The vendors have been booked on charges of causing danger to public safety and also flouting the SC order. No arrests have been made as the sections applied against the offenders were bailable.