Delhi Police on Friday warned residents that forcefully applying colours and throwing water balloons at passers-by, especially women, during Holi celebrations may land them in trouble.
“Holi revelers will be dealt with under the law, if we receive any complaint,” said special commissioner Dependra Pathak, who is Delhi Police’s chief spokesperson.
The past years have seen many incidents of violence and clashes among different groups during the festival of colours.
The festival this year will be celebrated two days after election results of five states is declared. Delhi Police hence is on its toes and have deployed special teams to watch out for unruly revelers. The police have deployed most of their personnel in areas across the cities which have a history of riots or those having mixed population of many religions.
“Our teams will ensure that women and also people from others religion are not troubled with water balloons, colour or gulaal against their wishes,” said Pathak.
A recent intelligence report circulated across all police stations warns that female students in universities, colleges, women’s hostels and other educational campuses may be harassed and molested on the pretext of celebrating Holi. Delhi police commissioner Amulya Patnaik has ordered all the district DCPs to ensure deployment of male and women staff in uniform and plainclothes in educational campuses such as Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia to prevent such incidents of harassment.
The intelligence report also tells police to ensure security in areas that have a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims, so that there is no communal tension. “Consumption of liquor and bhang, particularly on the day of Holi, at times leads to street brawls and traffic violations. Holika dahan and celebration of Holi in communally sensitive areas ....should be covered with adequate deployment of force,” reads the report prepared by Rajneesh Gupta, DCP (special branch).
Special commissioner Pathak said police have been sensitized about the issues and been told to keep a close watch on the sale of spurious liquor, bhaang and other narcotics. “The local police will deploy staff with video cameras in vulnerable areas. A special watch will be kept on hooligans, bootleggers and those who attempt to disturb peace and communal harmony during festivals,” he added. Police on Saturday arrested two men for smuggling spurious liquor.
On March 5, a 15-year-old boy was beaten by a group in East Delhi’s Farsh Bazar area when he asked them not to throw water balloons at him. A similar incident was reported last year where a Nigerian national was assaulted by locals after he scolded a boy for throwing water balloons at him in west Delhi.