Cops must improve crowd management

Over 25,000 personnel, including SRPF, CRPF, RAF, BSF staff, 18 paramilitary companies and 47,000 city policemen were manning the streets, and yet such a strong force could not avert the molestation of a girl at the Bharatmata junction near Curry Road station during Ganesh Visarjan on Wednesday.

The ‘safe’ city has now become a breeding ground for perverts. The reason for such increasing number of street crimes is the Mumbai police’s inefficiency to learn lessons from their mistakes. Unless the force introduces proper crowd management plans, such incidents will continue to occur at crowded places. In 2007, revellers at Gateway of India had brought major shame to Mumbai by stripping and molesting a girl on New Year’s Eve. Exactly a year later, a mob groped and molested two girls outside a five-star hotel in Juhu, again on New Year’s Eve. Just a year ago, in August 2012, some female police personnel could not protect themselves when the crowd went berserk during the Azad Maidan riots.

In the wake of the recent gang rape of a photojournalist, Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh had publicly announced that safety of women would be their top priority during this Ganesh festival. With this recent incident, all their claims have been proved futile, yet again.

In the past, the cops have justified their stand by claiming that they are short of manpower. Though the statistics of 47,000 cops to man 18 million Mumbaikars works in their favour, there are other options, like appointing volunteers. The Eagle Brigade initiative introduced by the local police has worked wonders in controlling street crimes during night.

Instead of taking cover behind claims of manpower shortage, they should take concrete steps to ensure that such incidents are not repeated. 

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