Mumbai: Governor's need for silence robs Malabar Hill residents' peace

Malabar Hill residents face police ire for playing loud instruments during wedding functions

Trishul Kokate had to go to the police station after the cops confiscated two dhols, which were used at his sister’s haldi ceremony yesterday
Trishul Kokate had to go to the police station after the cops confiscated two dhols, which were used at his sister’s haldi ceremony yesterday

They say marriages are made in heaven. But, the ones celebrated at Malabar Hill are giving couples nightmares. Residents of one of Mumbai's poshest neighbourhoods are alleging that the police have been subjecting them to harassment during wedding functions, and all because they live in close proximity to the Governor's house.

According to a few, despite applying for a no-objection certificate, the police do not allow them to play music within the stipulated 10 pm deadline. The matter came to light when Jayesh Bodke, a resident of Walkeshwar, Malabar Hill, was celebrating his haldi function on Sunday.

Even as the celebration was on, the police barged into the function and slapped Bodke a fine of Rs 5,000 for noise pollution. "We were playing music when at around 7.30 pm, police officials dropped by, and accused us of violating rules under noise pollution," said Bodke. After a warning, they came again at 8.45 pm and took away their instruments.

"I had approached the police last Monday for an NOC. They gave me a paper, and said that I would get my NOC within two days. When the NOC didn't come, I approached them again on Friday. They then told me that since the senior officer was absent, they couldn't provide me the NOC. However, I was assured that I could still play music for three hours," said Bodke. Despite this, the police fined him. "I showed them the paper, but they said that it is not the official letter. Is it our fault that the police didn't have time to give me the certificate?" he asked.

Another resident, Trushal Kokate, an IT professional, echoed Bodke's sentiments. Kokate faced a similar situation yesterday, while celebrating the haldi function of his sister. "We were playing only two dhols during the permissible time period. Still, the police took them away," he said. When he asked the police why they had confiscated them, officials said they got calls from the Governor's house regarding the noise.

When contacted, an official from Malabar Hill police station rubbished the allegations. Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official said that Kokate hadn't applied for an NOC, and Bodke had failed to collect the certificate from the police. "We have charged Bodke under section 33 (W) of the Bombay Police Act, and fined him Rs 5,000," said Bhaskarrao Sawant senior police inspector, Malabar police.

With inputs from Bipin Kokate

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