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Mumbai: Ground report reveals lapses in police security on New Year's eve


Shawan Sen,CNN-IBN
Jan 01, 2013 at 02:13pm IST

Mumbai: Twenty four-year-old management student Annesha Ghosh has been in Mumbai for over two years. This year too, Annesha decided to usher in 2013 by celebrating in a popular pub in the city, but, with caution. CNN-IBN decided to follow her through the night to get a sense of how safe Mumbai was, especially after the police claimed to take all measures to ensure the safety of women in the aftermath of the bestial Delhi gangrape.

As we hail a cab, Annesha tells me that she wouldn't have taken a cab on her own had we not been with her. "As the night falls, I wouldn't want to risk it. I would prefer if someone joins me. It need not be a male friend," she says. Annesha plans to meet her friends at Versova, which is a 30-minute drive from her apartment.

The Delhi gangrape incident has deeply affected Annesha. "It does scare me. Obviously, I would like to think twice before taking the public transport," she tells us. And as we arrive at the venue, we find her friends waiting. And it is not just Annesha but her friends too who are sceptical of the safety in the maximum city.

Vatsala, one of Annesha's friends, says, "Naturally, one will be sceptical as crime against women in Mumbai has gone up drastically. It's not the same anymore."

As Annesha and her friends enter the pub to celebrate the new year, we decide to check the streets of Mumbai. New Year Eve's in Mumbai have been marred in the past with incidents like the Juhu and Gateway of India molestation cases. The police this time had promised to set up checkpoints, with women constables at popular spots, videography of revellers who create a nuisance while driving at key junctions and single males separated into 'stags' and 'families' to avert cases of molestation.

However, what we found is this: a dimly lit Juhu-Versova link road, with no checkpoint at the entire stretch, and not just there, in our entire tour of south and western Mumbai, we spotted women constables only in a handful of places.

At 4.00 in the morning, we decided to end our tour at the iconic Gateway of India. The same place, where in 2007, a girl was molested on New Year's eve. Shockingly, no case was ever registered. While the Delhi Braveheart's death has woken up the nation, in 2013, the Mumbai police will have a heavy task to ensure that the old glory of Mumbai is well restored.

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