Vashi gang-rape: Sagar Vihar has one cop to secure half-a-km area

Updated: Sep 30, 2019, 07:48 IST | Anamika Gharat | Mumbai

Lone cop at the Sagar Vihar entrance says those sent to man the area have a very hard time taking on drunks, addicts; have even been assaulted

The main gate of Sagar Vihar. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
The main gate of Sagar Vihar. Pic/Rajesh Gupta

Sagar Vihar, a popular beach front leisure area in Navi Mumbai, is spread over half a kilometre. Yet, there is just one police officer in charge of security in the area and he does not even have a pair of binoculars. The personnel mid-day spoke to said lots of people who visit the place stay back at Sagar Vihar till 4 am the next day and create a lot of problems for the police. They have even attacked the police sometimes, he said.

Sagar Vihar came under police security cover after 26/11. As the area is vast, the police security person cannot even patrol the area for fear of keeping the entrance unguarded. The officer said, "There are some villagers who come to drink here but they leave post 10 pm. But, Sagar Vihar can be accessed from other places, too. So, anyone can enter from anywhere and it is impossible to keep an eye on everyone from the main entrance. CIDCO has not deployed any security people from their side like NMMC gardens have."

The other unmanned entry point to the sprawling area
The other unmanned entry point to the sprawling area

There have been several cases where drunks have attacked the police when told to get out of the place. The officer said, "If we speak against the situation we could lose our job, that's why we keep mum and carry on with our work. Recently, I told three men to go back home around 1.30 am because they were throwing beer bottles at each other, but they called someone and said, 'This police officer is troubling us, come here all of you we will teach him a lesson'. Those guys left only at 4 am. I informed the Vashi police, but they sometimes come and sometimes ignore us as this is an everyday problem. These people come from Govandi and Mankhurd and stay back till the first train starts."

About the day of the gang-rape, a coastal officer Arun Khanjode said, "I always stand at the starting point. I don't know what happened inside. Our duty is to keep an eye on coastal activity."

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