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On Vat Poornima, Mumbai cops stand guard to ward off chain snatchers

While women dressed up and adorned themselves in jewellery yesterday to pray for the prosperity of their husbands, two police constables watched over them at each prominent spot of worship, especially temples

Yesterday, while women in the city celebrated Vat Poornima, two police constables stood guard at each prominent place of worship to make sure that incidents of chain snatching did not occur. The step came in the face of increasing chain-snatching incidents.

Women perform a ritual for the long lives of their husbands on the eve of Vat Poornima in Currey Road. Pic/Satyajit Desai
Women perform a ritual for the long lives of their husbands on the eve of Vat Poornima in Currey Road. Pic/Satyajit Desai

On this day, Hindu women dress up in traditional attire and ample jewellery, and pray for the prosperity and longevity of their husbands by tying a cotton thread round a banyan tree. With chain snatching proving to be a menace in recent times, the police have had to work day and night to bring it under control.

As per Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria’s orders, two constables guarded prominent temples and places of worship that women frequent to perform rituals on the day
As per Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria’s orders, two constables guarded prominent temples and places of worship that women frequent to perform rituals on the day

From 800 in 2012, the number rose to 1,891 in 2013. Studying past cases told the police that the crimes occurred most on festivals and special occasions. Taking this into account, Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria had asked all his men to deploy a minimum of two constables in sensitive areas, especially near temples, where women performed the Vat Savitri puja, as it is known.

Mumbai police spokesperson Mahesh Patil said, “We ordered the entire police force to give full protection to all women who visited banyan trees for worshipping. With the increase in number of chain-snatching incidents, it is necessary to provide safety to the city’s women.” Two police constables were present at every prominent puja spot in Mumbai. Inspector Rane of Borivli police station said, “We gave all the women safety tips to tackle chain snatchers.

We also told them to hide their gold jewellery and go home safely.” Chain snatchers target areas such as Matunga, Sion, Mahim, Borivli and Dadar. Half of the cases are reported from these locations, while the remaining from the city’s other 90 police stations. However, bringing out the force seems to have worked, since the cops say they only registered one case of chain snatching yesterday, at Vakola police station.

Voices

Sangita Sonawane, Wadala resident
I visited the temple yesterday in my bridal sari and got back home safe. I felt safe with the Mumbai police protecting us.

Veena Parab, Kandivli resident
Vat Savitri is a big occasion. I felt safe yesterday while going to perform the puja after seeing the cops on the streets.

Pallavi Mangaonkar, Malad resident
If the police protect us like this daily, nobody will dare snatch chains. I’m proud of Mumbai police.

Anuya Patil, Vile Parle resident
I had heard of many incidents in the past about chain snatching. I’m glad the police were there for our safety.

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