Special squads to keep law and order during New Year revelry

Mumbai police, having reluctantly agreed to let parties go on till 5 am on New Year, have decided to deploy special squads to keep a check on drug usage and cases of eve-teasing and drink driving.

"In view of the ongoing outrage, and rightly so, over the recent incidents, we have taken several measures to prevent untoward incidents. Special squads will be working from the evening of December 31, 2012 to January 1, 2013, on the lookout for incidents of crimes against women," Commissioner of Police Satyapal Singh said.

The police have not requested reinforcement, relying on its own strength for the bandobast on New Year. All leaves and weekly offs have been cancelled for the duration. Reckoning that drugs may be used at parties on December 31 night, police will be deploying men in plainclothes at pubs and discos.

Punitive action will be taken against anyone found selling or using narcotics. Over the past month, the Anti-Narcotics Cell has arrested more than 100 accused in cases of drug peddling and seized drugs — mainly cocaine and amphetamines — worth lakhs. A large number of these arrests were made in south Mumbai and a majority of the accused were Nigerians acting as delivery boys for syndicates based out of Mumbai.

"As far as drink driving is concerned, we have set up squads armed with breathalysers. Surprise checks will be conducted at various spots," Singh said. Speaking about yacht and launch parties, he said that no one had approached the police for permission.

Restaurants and bars have been allowed to operate till 5 am on January 1, while the deadline for loudspeakers remains 10 pm. At a meeting held recently to discuss the deadline, the police had opposed letting bars and restaurants remain open till 5 am. The state government, however, decided otherwise. In the run-up to Christmas and on December 25, police had barred restaurants to remain open beyond 1.30 am.

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