Every year security threats move several notches higher during the largest religious festival Vinayaka Chathurthi in this part of the world and this year, too, is no exception. Mumbai police commissioner Datta Padsalgikar is taking no chances as he has ensured 'visible policing' at almost all the major pandals across the nation's commercial capital.
Visible policing is the use and deployment of policemen on busy thoroughfares and other places frequented by the public to make people feel safe. The idea is that if you have more uniformed cops manning your streets, it can act as a deterrent for criminals, as well as those of the more determined variety.
Although Padsalgikar told THE WEEK that he does not want to talk about any threat in particular, he said he has ensured "maximum cover" for the festivals when it comes to ensuring security and safety of the people at large. A large bulk of the Mumbai police force are being deployed to ensure safety and security bandobast at the pandals.
Mumbai is witnessing more than 1,363 Ganpati pandals this year with over two thousand new applications pending approval with the local civic authorities. Special measures have been enforced at Lalbaugcha Raja and GSB pandals (King's Circle), as these attract huge crowd. The crowd at these pandals had always been a challenge for the Mumbai police.
At these places the Mumbai police are being supplemented by paramilitary forces like the Border Security Force (BSF) and others. Extra stress is put on surveillance at selected "vantage points" with the erection of tall watchtowers and the harnessing of specially equipped technical gadgets.