The city police say they are helpless when it comes to ensuring the safety of people frequenting promenades in Bandra (West).
The waterfront in Bandra is a popular spot for couples looking for privacy, who end up becoming vulnerable to attacks from thieves.
A 19-year-old boy was killed at the Bandra Reclamation promenade on Saturday night, and his friend injured, when they resisted a robbery attempt.
The Mumbai crime branch arrested five people in June 2009, for allegedly threatening youngsters at Bandra Bandstand with knives and robbing them of their valuables. The accused were arrested from the Nargis Dutt Nagar slum near Bandra Reclamation.
The police admitted that couples seated along the promenades or on the rocks are exposed to anti-social elements but said it was not in their hands to stop them from frequenting these spots.
“There are several couples, who take refuge at isolated spots along the sea front. This makes them vulnerable to criminal elements,” Additional commissioner of police (West region) Amitabh Gupta said. “However, we cannot ask these couples to move away because that would mean intruding on their personal life.”
An officer from Bandra police station, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said couples often visit these spots without telling their parents. “So, even if they are targeted, they prefer not to complain to us because their parents would then find out. This works to the advantage of the criminals,” he said.
Gupta said there has been adequate police presence in the area given a series of robberies in the recent past. “However, following the murder on Saturday, which occurred despite police presence in the area, we will increase the number of policemen along the stretch,” Gupta said.
In March 2004, a farsan trader from Dadar, Amit Patel, shot at 29-year-old Mohammed Ali Umar Shaikh, on the Bandra Reclamation promenade, killing him for teasing his wife. Patel was later sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.