The irony is titillating. Thousands of revellers converging on a high-security district in the dead of night, spontaneous outbursts of national pride and a massive contingent of cricket-crazed fanatics venting their joy may sound like the stuff irrepressible law and order problems are made of.
However, despite being in the throes of an uncontrollable frenzy after India’s favourite 11 lifted the World Cup, it was one Saturday night when the Capital was at its best behaviour. So much so that the police can’t digest it. The number of fatal accidents fell as did the number of drink driving cases.
“There were no fatal road accidents connected with the celebrations after Delhiites came on to the streets. Although as many as 102 drivers were challaned for drink driving, the number is almost half the usual number of daily prosecutions,” said Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police (traffic).
As per Traffic Police estimates, at least 200 commuters are challaned for drink driving and at least five fatal accidents are reported daily.
“On Saturday, only three fatal accidents were reported after 6pm. All of them took place in the Capital’s peripheries, far from the revelry that unfolded in south and central Delhi. Given the magnitude of the celebrations, it seems the arrangements worked well. And Delhi was very well-behaved,” Garg said.
The Tricolour was unfurled from terraces atop buildings in south and north Delhi, from the windows of cars headed to India Gate and from poles stuck behind two-wheelers zipping along Ring Road. By all accounts and regardless of location — it was a good, good night, indeed.
“It was crazy! I was with friends at PVR Saket and the crowd went berserk when we lifted the cup. Hugs and congratulations were exchanged all around and cheers went up everywhere. It was like we’d all won the first prize,” said Poonam Singh, 28, who is pursuing her M. Phil from DU.
While 31 drivers were prosecuted for dangerous driving, 45 were challaned for barging into a ‘no entry’ zone and 14 for offences such as triple riding and riding without a helmet.
“It seemed as if no rules were in force,” said Vihans Gupta, 23, a sales executive who couldn’t keep away from the revelry at India Gate. “We were united regardless of age, gender or a khaki uniform. It was spectacular.”
“Most prosecutions occurred between 8pm and midnight. But when the celebrations gathered steam, our emphasis shifted from prosecution to regulating the sea of humanity engaged in the celebration. Though Connaught Place, India Gate and Defence Colony flyover were among the problematic areas — somehow everything went well,” Garg added.