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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Last orders: Dhoble goes to London

Serena Menon, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, December 14, 2012
First Published: 12:46 IST(14/12/2012) | Last Updated: 17:04 IST(14/12/2012)

Just when we thought we were the only ones who could crib about raids at nightclubs, the Brits have come and stolen the show. A few days ago, Bobin James, a music writer and photographer, tweeted: “Dhoble’s moved to London, it seems”. The post was accompanied by a link to a video about an ‘Operation Condor’ in the UK. The next five people I told about the ‘operation’ said the exact thing that Bobin said. I couldn’t help but snigger.

Somehow, the matter hasn’t been reported as extensively in India, but international stories claim that ‘Operation Condor’ — no, not the 1975 campaign of political repression — is “one of the Met’s (Metropolitan Police Service) ‘big wing’ operations focusing on specific crimes”. Reports also said that the scale of the raids conducted at 6,000-odd venues involved a task force of 4,000 officers, sniffer dogs and even helicopters.

A news report by The Guardian about the raids last weekend said, “At least 297 people were arrested for various offences, including 38 for theft, 20 for public order offences, 20 for possessing Class-A drugs, 22 for possessing Class-B drugs, 26 for possession with intent to supply, seven for possessing offensive weapons, 18 for drunkenness, and 52 for immigration offences (sic).”

Sounds familiar?
The most interesting find from the raids, however, has got to be the five counterfeit iPhones, which received special mention along with the 200 regular phones seized at the event. “...35 kg of non-duty paid tobacco” was also found.

Egad! Located in the heart of Brick Lane in London, a club called 93 Feet East was one of the many places raided. The live gig venue’s Twitter handle is usually a busy one. After December 7, they stopped posting till December 11, when they announced the postponement of a gig.

So Mumbai’s started a trend — of nightclub raiding, it seems. It’s just ironic that a documentary that Channel 4 made about Mumbai’s nightlife clampdown (it was shot by reporters from London, who were shocked at the state of our nightlife), was only recently released in the UK. Obviously no one is saying that the documentary gave the London police the idea; it couldn’t have. It’s not like the British felt left out because someone else was doing all the ‘dictatorship’ back in India, and so, in retaliation, they decided they could do it better. No chance, right?

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