To keep Ganesh immersion festivities free from any untoward incidents, the Mumbai police, who fear a terror attack similar to the one during Bastille Day celebrations in France, are verifying the backgrounds of truck and tempo drivers across the city.
“We have alerted all local police stations and have instructed them to carry out a check on all possible truck and tempo drivers, especially those driving bigger vehicles, to ensure there is no terror attack like the one in France that left 84 dead in July this year,” said a senior ATS officer, on condition of anonymity.
Two weeks ago, before the Ganpati festival began, the police stations were told to meet all Ganpati mandals in their jurisdictions and to get details of truck and tempo drivers hired during idol immersion, said a senior police officer. “We have instructed mandals that the driver should be known to them and to ensure they aren’t while driving,” said the officer.
Officers have maintained a logbook containing details of the drivers transporting the idols to various immersion points. Apart from these records, mandals have also been instructed to ensure the vehicles prominently display on the front details of the drivers, the route it will take and other necessary information. After verifying these details, the local beat chowkie officer will give clearance to vehicles allowed to ply on immersion routes, said a senior officer.
Officers of the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) and the crime branch have alerted their informants in the vicinity and are keeping a close watch on crowded areas. After obtaining details of the driver, we have done backgrounds checks, including call records and have also checked their social media identities to understand the driver’s nature, said police sources.