Shocked over the Delhi gang rape and the death of the victim, the city kept its New Year Eve celebrations somber.
In the hotels and homes of Bathinda, and churches across the state, silent prayers will usher 2013. "We have removed all decoration lights from all 700 churches in the state to mark black New Year," said father George Masih of the united Christian welfare association of Punjab.
New Year Eve parties will also remain a low-key affair in Bathinda, while the church is closed. The Civil Lines Club and The Dunes Club, most happening places this time of the year, have cancelled their celebration schedule and booking for the occasion that were done in the first week of December.
Hoteliers don't even see any enthusiasm for these parties among the public. Policemen, in uniform as well as plainclothes, are deployed at all major crossings, eating joints, bus stand, and hotels. It is an atmosphere of fear instead of joy.
"Out of 40 hotels in the city, only two have done any preparation for New Year Eve. It was a night of big business last year in the places that have now sacrificed their parties to grieve with the country.
"We were busy since Christmas, and flooded with booking, and now it's no celebration anywhere," said Satish Arora, president of the Bathinda hoteliers' association. "Fear also has kept people indoors. Parents don't find it safe to permit their daughters to go out. The Delhi gang-rape has shaken people."