By meghna at 1 March, 2010, 5:10 pm
Holi is not only the festival of colors and joy but also that of crime. On the occasion of Holi, crimes like eve-teasing, sexual harassment, robbery, gambling and consumption of drugs have grown tremendously in recent times.
The public places like railway stations, parks, gardens etc are often guarded by disguised police officials. Females are often harassed by males on this auspicious occasion. Eve teasing has become a common feature of the festival. Perpetrators usually take the advantage of being concealed by colors. Most of the victims do not realize that they are being harassed.
A report demonstrates that eve-teasing incidents have increased near schools and other educational institutions during Holi. Usually it’s not the students but some unwanted elements that enter these campuses. Police has time and again taken steps to prevent these incidents by only allowing people who possess identity cards of these institutions.
Robbery has become another characteristic feature of the festival. The robbers target drugged individuals, open houses and passengers. This year the Bihar police has enhanced the security of some trains like Jansadharan Express, Sampoorna Kranti Express, Bihar Sampark Kranti, Vikramsheela and Magadh Express. The modus operandi of such criminals is extremely simple. They first drug their victims and then take away their valuables. The passengers are not left with any remedy because till they find out, it is usually too late. Moreover they are strangers to the administration of the place as well. Most of the times they lodge a complaint in railways with very little or no hope at all.
The other infamous incidents related to Holi are that of balloon throwing. People target individuals from moving trains with color filled water balloons. The same can have very dangerous consequences. It may lead to partial or complete blindness if hit in the eye. In cities like Mumbai which is a hub of local trains such unfortunate incidents take place on a wide scale. The Mumbai Railway Police has ensured that sensitive areas like Malad, Goregaon, Jogeshwari, Khar Road, Matuga, Grant Road on WR line, Byculla, Kurla, Ghatkopar Sion, Bhadup, Chembur Wadala, Govandi and Mankhurd would be guarded by 31 teams of police officers this year. It is not only the railway passengers who face the issue of water balloons. They are also thrown children at unknown people from distance. Parents should discourage such practices. The children should be explained its harmful impact both by parents and at schools. They must be warned that this may lead them to end up in juvenile homes for some time. Apart from this some people also throw mud and cow dung at people.
Gambling and playing cards is now being associated with Holi. People after consuming liquor play ‘teen paati’ or flash and try to make some money out of it. Playing pot is another activity in which people indulge into. Gambling is done on both small and high scale. Not only villages and small towns but also in big cities gambling takes place.
Consumption of liquor and drugs is a widely practised on this occasion. In spite of some governments banning sale of liquor on this day, people manage to arrange alcohol and drugs. Bhang is consumed by people in the name of Prasad. Even though consuming bhang is illegal, it is sold openly by shops on the festival. Some people claim that Bhang is the official drink of Holi. It is mixed with vadas, thandai and pakoras almost everywhere in northern India.
Drinking is not itself a crime but it can lead to many crimes. One of the major reasons of date rapes is
intoxication. Females are unknowingly administered drugs by their counter-parts. They are then subjected to rapes. The female is unable to protest due to the effects of intoxication. Drunk driving although punishable by law is witnessed on occasions of Diwali, New Year and Holi. People drive unconsciously and not only put their lives in danger but also risk the lives of the others. Traffic Police does its best to control such acts but it may not be able to guard every street and lane.
It is not the Police which have to perform all the duties related to security on the festivals. The citizens also share some responsibility and accountability. Drinking and gambling is permissible but it should be controlled. One should not drive after drinking; your celebration might turn into a funeral for somebody else. Women must be careful while playing holi, they might be harassed or eve teased. Females must not go out alone on this day. One should not consume drugs or alcohol when offered by strangers, they might be robbers. Students and College administration must restrict the entry of strangers on this day. Shops selling water balloons must be heavily penalised. Acts like mud, egg and cow dung throwing must be discouraged by public. One should be a part of celebration and not that of crime. Enjoy the festival with some dignity and grace.