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Protests, dharnas give cops tough time

Protest demonstrations and rallies on a daily basis at Jantar Mantar and Tolstoy Marg have managed to get the goat of the city police. But there is little that the men in khaki can do about it.

delhi Updated: Feb 25, 2011 00:29 IST
Karan Choudhury

Protest demonstrations and rallies on a daily basis at Jantar Mantar and Tolstoy Marg have managed to get the goat of the city police. But there is little that the men in khaki can do about it.

Every time a major protest rally takes place, the Delhi Police have to press at least one battalion (comprising 75 constables) at Tolstoy Marg. The cost of keeping a hawk eye over such a demonstration, for a duration for at least three hours, is around Rs 15, 000.

Tolstoy Marg, one of the busiest roads in the city that is also connected to four major traffic intersections, has been a witness to all such gatherings.

According to Delhi Police, it is the designated spot for holding protests. These rallies are not only the cause of chaotic traffic jams but also creates manpower shortage for the police.

“Jantar Mantar is an official area specified to hold dharnas, demonstrations and other mass gatherings. On a daily basis, we get around four-five applications, requesting permission to hold mass gatherings. We have to provide security to every gathering taking place in the area,” said KC Dwivedi, additional commissioner of police, New Delhi District.

The money that the police have to spend to provide security to various political outfits, group of activists, protesters could had been used for other things.

“Providing security on a daily basis to people protesting in the heart of the city is a mammoth task. If anything goes wrong, it could have serious repercussions. We have to be on our toes always. All these are done using public money, which could otherwise be used to improve policing in the city and provide better equipment to our force,” said a senior police officer, requesting anonymity.