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Mumbai Police Clamps Section 144, Prohibits Tours, Finally!

Sonal Aggarwal | Mumbai

With 32 Coronavirus cases in the state - the highest in the country - Mumbai police has, finally, prohibited all types of group tours, here on 15 March 2020. It was on 6 March 2020 that The Draft urged the city police to immediately stop tours to prevent the spread.

The Draft's #SpeakUpMumbai campaign has taken on, on a war-footing basis, the issue of 'unregulated' tours being perpetrated 'illegally' and without police permissions across Mumbai posing serious terror threats to the vulnerable city. Apart from the apparent nuisance to residential zones and the risk of terror owing to the alarming anonymity offered by the 'group' tours is the imminent threat of contracting Coronavirus.

The order that came into effect from the same day includes domestic and foreign tours of people travelling together independently or organised by private tour operators or others, till March 31 using powers under Section 144 of CrPC.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Pranaya Ashok has maintained that if anyone, including private tour operators, required to travel under exceptional circumstances, they may do so after clearance from Mumbai Commissioner of Police.

That, however, is a given as any tour - private or public - if conducted in a public place must get clearance from the Police - a formality that is swiftly and conveniently overlooked by the tour operators and the police alike to the detriment of the public, safety, law and order, privacy and security norms that have a long way to go before falling in place.

Zone 1 of Mumbai, that registers a huge number of footfalls of both Indian as well as foreign tourists, continues to face extreme risk owing to unfettered movement of 'tourists'.

Following the Terror Attacks at Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Leopold Cafe (that stands bang opposite Colaba Police Station), Oberoi Towers, Chabad House, CST, Cama Hospital and Metro - all that lie in Zone 1 - the Mumbai Police must be a lot of more vigil with regard to 'unregulated' movement triggered under the guise of 'tours' and other 'events' lest an eventuality recur and place the entire city at grave risk.

A copy of the order of Mumbai Police
The Draft and #SpeakUpMumbai welcome the move by Mumbai Police to impose Section 144 of CrPC on the entire city as a preventive measure and urge the authorities to streamline travel tours and similar events that have become a tool for fly-by-night operators to conveniently evade taxes, bypass legal processes in place and pose a threat to the peace by threatening violence and terror.