50 pledge to help cops shut down pubs
While young and old joined forces and struck a defiant note by marching against Dhoble in spite of a police prohibition at Carter Road, the Kamla Bai Nimkar library was witness to a more sedate, sombre affair a protest in vehement support of Dhoble's 'cause'.
About 50 residents of the western suburbs, from between Oshiwara to Bandra, have formed a forum — Citizens for Free Mumbai — with the aim of helping cops in their crackdown on the city’s nightlife, which they claim have been causing them sleepless nights — the music is too loud, and their kids are getting ‘spoilt’ by the drug mafia.
This group claimed that they too wanted to stage a rally, but decided, like law-abiding citizens, to tow the cops’ line, when they were denied permission. Some were disgruntled that they were not allowed to stage the rally, while their opposing camp, the ‘anti-Dhoble’ party, managed to pull theirs off smoothly.
The group’s chief concern is the way in which the youth of the city is being ‘spoiled’ by the drug mafia, revealed Shamsher Pathan, retired ACP.
Pathan said, “We had more than 2,000 residents between Andheri and Bandra, and they were all ready to participate in a rally. But we were not given permission. And since we obey the law, we held a small meeting here in the library. The drug mafia is supporting the other rally and organising it. The organisers are fooling the young kids. The youth do not know what the consequences are. They are getting spoilt, and it will be very difficult for them to get back.”
Deryk Talker, Andheri resident, said, “What the Social Service branch does is absolutely right. If you want to see for yourself, come to our local area where these pubs and bars operate. There is so much nuisance in the area and traffic jams too. We can’t sleep, or walk on our roads when these operate. We have sent so many letters to the local police, but they don’t take any action. And now when someone like Dhoble is coming and cleaning the mess, what is wrong in it?”
Yasmin Sheikh, another resident, said, “What Dhoble does is not illegal, but in keeping with the law. If you want to see the real problem, then you have to speak to the residents of areas where these pubs operate and see how many problems these residents have to face.”
Ashok Pandit said, “Today, we formed a citizen’s group for a better Mumbai. With the help of the police, we will try to shut down the illegal joints and pubs in our area. So many bad things happen in the name of nightlife in Mumbai. We can’t sleep all night, thanks to the noise and the traffic.”
Surender Khubchandani, another member, said, “It is unfair that the anti-Dhoble rally took place and we were not given permission. They too did not have permission, but marched a complete one-km distance and protested. No one was arrested or detained. Though the police has registered a case against unknown people, no action has been taken. Everyone there came and went home, who will be detained in the rally now?”
Asked about the Carter Road protest, Additional Commissioner of Police (Western region) Vishwas Nangre Patil, said, “We have booked several people for unlawful assembly. We will take action against them. We have booked the organiser Rahul Kanal and his associates in the case. We are not letting anyone go. We will detain all those who were present in the rally.”