Foreigners smoke at Rural Police HQ, cops turn blind eye

Despite the ban on smoking in public places, most foreigners, including women, were smoking and playing cards to kill time as they awaited their turn for registration and visa formalities. The police personnel posted at the main entrance were turning a blind eye to the smoking. Several people, including foreign visitors, visit the rural police office every day in connection with passport verification, foreign registration and visa-related formalities. 

Not allowed in public place: A foreign visitor smokes (hand with cigarette circled) on the lawn in front of the Pune Rural Police headquarters as others play cards yesterday afternoon

Yesterday, when the officer who looks after these tasks was not at his desk, several people had to wait outside the office. While most of the young foreigners sat smoking and playing cards in the porch area, some people slept on the lawn. A police personnel said that every day 50 to 80 foreigners visited the office in connection with visa and foreign registration formalities, but the lack of proper seating arrangements means these people have to make do with finding a place to rest on the porch at the front of the office.

“As there is no board saying ‘No Smoking’ in the office, these foreigner, who do not have any idea about the smoking laws in India, unintentionally break the rule by smoking in the public place,” the personnel said, requesting anonymity. Deputy Superintendent of Police (Home) Shankarrao Jadhav said the act of smoking at rural police office was a violation of rules and appropriate action would be taken.

“Smoking in the public domain is prohibited and the rural office, too, comes under the category of public offices,” Jadhav said. “We will take appropriate action against people who are seen smoking on the premises of the office.” He said he would be instructing the police inspector who looks after the administration of the police headquarters as well as the front reception desk to not allow people to smoke in front of the office.  “We will immediately put up a ‘No Smoking’ board on the premises so that people will refrain from smoking in the public place,” Jadhav said. 

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