If you thought struggling through a sea of humanity, of revellers celebrating India’s semi-final win at India Gate, a month ago was the spectacle of a lifetime — think again.
More than two decades after it was enforced, the Delhi Police, acting on the directions of the Delhi High Court on Tuesday, rescinded the draconian Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) thus allowing, at the least, a possibility of mass public demonstrations in and around the colonial war memorial’s vicinity.
“The only reason why the permanent ban had been imposed was because it used to throw traffic near the commercial heart of the capital, Connaught Place, out of gear. Considering the fact that Delhi’s vehicular population is now several times that in the late 80s, a small rally will be enough to throw a huge spanner in traffic for hours on end,” said a senior police officer requesting anonymity.
The traffic police, who could be seen on edge during the Anna Hazare-led agitation at Jantar Mantar at the beginning of this month, however, are ready to accept the challenge.
“We have to see every request (to hold a rally) from the point of view of traffic. We only issue NOCs based on the magnitude of dislocation of traffic expected. We will follow the same approach,” said Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police (traffic).