Ganesh Chaturthi 2019: Heavy rain deters devotees... and thieves at Lalbaugcha Raja
Very few people have been arriving for darshan at Ganesh mandals in Lalbaug owing to the rain warnings and flooding in certain areas
The heavy rain that has often led to a flood-like situation in the city has also affected the numbers of devotees going to Ganesh mandals. As the number of people going for darshan has reduced, so have incidents of chain-snatching and mobile thefts. Police note every year that many inter-state thieving gangs enter the city to take advantage of the crowds, especially at Lalbaug. But sources from the police claimed that offences have reduced to over 50 per cent here this year compared to last year.
Lalbaug has popular sarvajanik Ganesh mandals such as Lalbaugcha Raja, Chintamani, Ganesh Galli, Raja Tejukayacha Raja and Rangari Badak Chawl. All the mandals attract Ganesh devotees not only from Mumbai and surrounding areas but also from interior Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. This results in massive crowds in Lalbaug.
Heavy rains reduce crimes
This leads to chain-snatching and mobile theft cases etc. In 2018, more than 200 mobile phones were stolen, out of which 139 mobile phones were stolen on the last Sunday of the festival. The 2019 festival has very few devotees due to heavy rains. "The rain is the biggest factor that reduced the number of devotees in Lalbaug. In past two days the area was literally deserted," said a senior police officer.
The number of cases registered in Kalachowki police station, which covers most of Lalbaug is quite less. "Earlier, with the start of the Ganpati festival, we used to see a rush to register thefts of mobiles and ornaments. This year it has reduced significantly," said another police officer. "Families which visit mandals are the main targets of gangs operating here in festival days," he added.
Cops increase vigilance
The police planned to increase vigilance from Friday night. "The rush increases on weekends. So we have geared up to keep tabs on thefts," said another senior officer. Currently 10 deputy commissioners of police, 4 assistant commissioners of police, 20 police inspectors and more than 600 other officers and constables have been deputed at Lalbaug. However, the police PRO insists so far they haven't registered any complaints of theft. "As of now, police haven't received any complaints of chain-snatching and mobile theft. We are being vigilant to avoid such incidents in the remaining days as well," said Pranay Ashok, DCP (PRO).
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