With over a dozen malls and over 50 bars, discotheques and pubs, the busy Mehrauli-Gurgaon (MG Road) stretch is also called the mall mile. But of late, the mall mile has emerged as a hub of hooligans.
In fact, the situation goes from bad to worse after midnight. This is when these criminals rule the road despite police presence. The most notorious area is around the Sahara Mall, which has six bars and discotheques on its third floor.
Last year in July, the residents of Gurgaon had locked these bars and forced the mall to shut shop after a series of clashes between the bouncers of these clubs and their customers. Moreover, mall authorities had disconnected these bars’ power and water supply several times, but each time their political clout had ensured that those services were restored.
Sahara Mall had also urged the Haryana government to stop issuing so many bar licences, but the request fell on deaf ears."The criminals do not fear the police. They, in fact, violate the law in police presence. This New Year’s Eve, a group of youths attacked a couple and tried to abduct and molest the girl. When her partner intervened, he was thrashed. The couple was thankfully rescued by the police. But the fact remains that the hooligans were not cowed down by the presence of nearly 400 cops," said Priyanka Sareen, a Gurgaon resident.
But excise officials term issuing bar licences a government policy. “There is no ceiling on the number of bars in any mall or market complex. But there is definitely a limit on the number of liquor vends or shops in a particular area,” said a senior excise and taxation official.
Gurgaon has reported seven cases of crime against women which includes four molestation cases and three rapes this year.
Police too say the huge number of bars on MG road coupled with unruly youngsters are making life difficult. “The excise department should ensure there are a limited number of bars in a mall. We have a tough time maintaining order,” said Maheshwar Dayal, DCP (Crime).