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Delhi Police top brass set to enforce closing of bars and pubs by 1am to thwart brawls

NIGHTS in Delhi will dazzle no more. Music will be drowned by silence, darkness will take over and pub crawlers in the night will hit the top- notch Delhi Police wall. It's all because Delhi Police Commissioner B. S Bassi has got the whip cracking, and has tasked his top officers to ensure that bars, pubs and restaurants are shut down latest by 1 am in the Capital. Officers in the ranks of deputy commissioner and additional deputy commissioner will have to personally

ensure that Bassi's directives are strictly enforced.

Bassi's directive comes at a time when there was talk of promoting nightlife in the Capital by keeping the shops open till late night. But then, increasing incidents of drunken brawls at the pubs, discotheques, bars and restaurants prompted the top cop to direct a crackdown.

Some of these incidents involved foreign nationals. M AIL T ODAY has consistently reported about such incidents over the last six months ( see box). Moreover, safety of women is a concern from which there is no escape in a city notorious for criminal behaviour of rogue elements at large, especially at night.

Observers say, in recent times the Delhi Police has failed to effectively tackle brawls at the pubs and restaurants. Several such establishments allegedly flout guidelines for closing timing in connivance with local police constables and officers. Rattled by his force's inability to ensure safety for women and prevent the brawls, Bassi recently held a meeting with all the joint commissioners of police ( JCPs), across ranges, at the Delhi Police headquarters. "At the meeting, they discussed the issue of the women's safety in the Capital.

Bassi directed all the JCPs to ensure that the discotheques and pubs stop playing music by 12.30 am, and that all the restaurants, discotheques, pubs are completely shut down by 1 am," a senior police officer told Mail Today.

Following Bassi's directions, all the JCPs have asked the deputy commissioners of police ( DCPs) and additional deputy commissioners of police in their respective ranges to personally enforce the guidelines.

The DCPs and additional DCPs have been told to patrol their district areas and ensure that the concerned establishments are shut down latest by 1 am.

According to another senior police officer, who requested anonymity, "After their night patrols in their areas, the DCPs and the Addl. DCPs have to ensure that all restaurants, discotheques, pubs, including discotheques of all the leading hotels, are shut down by 1 am.

They have also to ensure that discotheques or bars stop serving liquor after that time.

Once the establishments close for the night, the senior police officers have to inform their concerned JCPs, who in turn would inform Police Commissioner Bassi." Commissioner Bassi has also directed that if any discotheque or bar does not follow the norms then the police officers will issue challans. The officers have also been asked to prepare a report on the concerned discotheque or bar, and send the report to the licensing unit of Delhi Police. The unit would then revoke the licence in case of repeat offenders.

But all of this could well scuttle New Delhi Municipal Corporation's plans of extending nightlife by keeping shops open till 11 pm, and eateries and pubs beyond 1 pm. On the contrary, the directive can benefit discotheques in Gurgaon and Noida that operate till the early hours. In fact, a representative body of restaurant and pub owners had recently met L- G Najeeb Jung, requesting him to relax the closing time of the pubs.

But the request was rejected after the Delhi Police said it would not be feasible for them to provide security after 1 am With Bassi directing his top officers to hit the road at night, civic administration and the traders have promised to cooperate in law enforcement measures.


"We have been planning late night markets to encourage nightlife. However, we will always work together with the administration and the police," a senior NDMC officer told M AIL T ODAY . "We don't want do anything that would affect law and order. We don't encourage late night drinking," the official added.

He was echoed by New Delhi Traders Association president Atul Bhargava. "If by the new directive any nuisance can be controlled and women can be made to feel safer, we agree with the police orders. We need to have a civilised society, rather than worrying that the party crowd will move to Gurgaon or Noida.

But we feel only a small margin of people would go outside Delhi to party," he told M AIL T ODAY . While that may be the case, informed sources say Bassi's direction is nothing but a kneejerk reaction and it proves Delhi Police's inability to efficiently manage law and order. A Capital city of a nation needs to be safe and at the same time vibrant.

Bassi's proposed crackdown may not help that at all, they say.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jul 3, 2014
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