Brawls, open drinking could be avoided
Every New Years’ eve, Gurugram turns into a party destination. With heavy discounts and offers at places to eat and drink, people from across the national capital region flock the city in large numbers. But when a city indulges in collective partying, there are chances of things going wrong.
So around 11.30pm on December 31 this year, I landed up at MG Road, one of the most happening party spots in town, to report on police arrangements and the general mood of the crowd.
I was talking to a police inspector deployed outside a mall in the area when I suddenly heard a loud thud and saw a man falling from the first floor — just about 20 metres away from where I was standing. I was in shock and so were the people around me. But the man got up and limped his way to a policeman, asking him to take action against a few bouncers who had allegedly assaulted him. One of the policemen asked him to report the incident at the nearby police station as his friends rushed towards him. I asked his one of his friends if they needed help, but they said they’d just take him to a hospital on the other side of the road in DLF Phase 2.
Sometime later, two young men bleeding from the head approached one of the police officers and told him that a scuffle had broken out inside the mall. They appeared inebriated.
After asking to treat their wounds, the policeman informed the security personnel of the mall to check out what they were talking about. One of the policemen later went inside, only to return in five minutes. He said, “Everything is peaceful now.” Elaborating further, he said the injured had allegedly misbehaved with some women inside following which the bouncers had asked them to leave — and that exchange led to the altercation. Down the road, I saw a man with a cut on the forehead and another near an eye, telling police that he was caught in the crowd because the clubs inside the mall were packed with people to the brim. He said the clubs were taking cover charges without seeing that there was no space inside and that there was complete chaos.
At Sector 29, the place known for a plethora of restaurants and pubs, I saw several men stepping out of parties and heading towards their cars to sit behind wheel while being drunk.
I also spotted some people drinking in a parking lot. A group of four women was seen challenging the police and abusing them for asking them to vacate the area. Police had to use their lathis at one point to get people to come out of the parking lot. A photojournalist from our team also took pictures of the chaos.
On Golf Course Road, I saw a batch of swanky colourful cars and a group of bikers speeding and swerving around 1.30 am. Some drivers cursed and cussed on the road. I believe they too were drunk.
On Sohna Road, I saw young men racing with each other in swanky cars and motorbikes. They even managed to speed past the police check points.
The following day, I was surprised to know that not one person had been booked by the police for drink driving that night. That was a first in at least the last 15 years. In 2017, 130 people were penalised on New Year’s eve for drunk driving.
Police said the celebrations this time were peaceful, with about 2,500 cops deployed and 114 check points set up across the city.
Maybe what I saw was the city’s way to celebrate a momentous occasion. Maybe the police were right. It could have been worse. However, I kept wondering on the New Year’s Day if such celebrations could have been any better instead.
Leena is a correspondent with the Gurugram bureau, who covers crime and jails, women and child
development, RWAS and excise