Policemen in Mumbai dressed in plain clothes will hunt for molesters harassing women during the Ganpati festival this year. The weapon: Their mobile phone cameras.
In all, 93 anti-molestation squads will be out on the streets to protect women, with heavy footfall likely on the streets on the fifth, seventh and tenth day of immersion. All the police stations have been put on an alert with the onset of the 10-day long festival and the officers have been asked to keep a special watch on the groups that visit the pandals and participate in the immersion procession.
“Each of the 93 police stations has formed an anti-molestation squad that will be on the streets in civil clothes. They will take videos at crowded places,” said Dhananjay Kulkarni, deputy commissioner and Mumbai police spokesperson.
Since all the policemen use smartphones these days and carrying a video recorder was deemed not viable, the squads have been asked to use their phones. “We intend to have at least one woman police personnel in each squad so that they are around to tackle any eventuality. Also, the zonal deputy commissioners in whose jurisdiction the major Ganpati mandals fall, have been asked to put up watch towers for better crowd management and vigilance,” said Kulkarni.
As a part of additional police presence, more than one squad will be posted at big mandals, most of which fall in the central Mumbai belt.
Officials also said many big mandals have also formed volunteer teams that have been given identity cards and they will be deployed in teams to keep a watch.
The police have already covered all the important immersion routes with CCTV cameras as part of the improved security.
Officials said there are at least 120 visarjan spots in Mumbai, whereas more than their double in the suburbs. Policemen on bandobast will also keep a watch on petty thieves and bag lifters.