This Navratri, you will be dandiya-dancing in the company of dog squads, detectors, explosives scanners, multiple monitoring systems, CCTVs and an army of cops. Also, leave the handbag and bottle of water at home
Keeping in mind the recent blasts that took place in the financial and political capitals, and the terror alert issued for the city, Mumbai police authorities are pulling no punches in reinforcing security for all dandiya dos across the city, big and small.
This year, in addition to instructing Navratri mandals to install CCTV cameras and metal detectors, policemen will conduct a thorough stakeout of the venues themselves, before they are chock-a-block with revellers.
Some organisers have requested revellers to use
public transport instead of using their own vehicles
The police have asked mandals to hand over the grounds to them two hours before the crowd starts pouring in, so they can run a security check.
Devendra Joshi, the organiser of Sankalp, held at Goregaon Sports Complex ground, said, "In a meeting held with cops this week, they asked us to beef up security by installing cameras in and around the ground to monitor any suspicious movement.
We will be following stringent security measures, where nobody will be allowed with a handbag inside the ground."
Dandiya Queen Falguni Pathak will be performing at the event.
"Security of the revellers will be our topmost priority," Joshi continued, "This time, cops have told us to hand over the ground to them just two hours before dandiya starts.
They want to do a security check on the premises before dance begins. Also, the details of all of the mandal's volunteers will be given to the cops, who will verify their credentials."
Moreover, our team is in the process of getting a scanning machine to spot liquid explosives, we hope to get it."
Other mandals, such as Naidu Club Navratri at Kora Kendra ground, have decided to have a monitoring system linked to the nearest police station.
"Apart from the monitoring system in the ground, we will have another set at Borivli police station, so cops can watch over the ground," said Pankaj Kotecha, organiser of the Kendra's dandiya.
Kora Kendra will have hand-held and walk-through metal detectors, with a dog squad to sniff any trouble. Some 150 guards will man the mandal, which will include 25 female guards. Kora Kendra, too, will not let anybody in with a handbag, water bottle and other such items.
Jignesh Khilani, organiser, Somaiya ground dandiya, said, "For the past three years, security at all dandiya grounds has been beefed up, and this year, even more so.
We are going to keep a tap on all movements in and around the ground, including the parking area. We have requested the revellers to use public transport instead of getting their own vehicles."