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New Year begins with a bang in Bangalore

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CELEBRATORY MOOD: A large crowd welcoming the New Year on Brigade Road in Bangalore. Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash
CELEBRATORY MOOD: A large crowd welcoming the New Year on Brigade Road in Bangalore. Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

Staff Reporter

Hundreds of revellers fill M.G. Road, Brigade Road; Police Commissioner joins celebrations

BANGALORE: Wednesday's terrorist attack on the Indian Institute of Science and the threats of bomb explosions did not cast a shadow over the New Year celebrations in the city, which was on a high alert.

Amidst unprecedented security cover that was thrown around the central parts of the city, hundreds of revellers thronged the upmarket Mahatma Gandhi Road and Brigade Road and cheered in the New Year at the stroke of midnight. They burst firecrackers amidst loud cheers of "Happy New Year."

There were apprehensions that the celebrations on the Mahatma Gandhi Road and Brigade Road may not attract huge crowd as usual, because the people were feeling jittery in the wake of the terror attack and bomb scare.

On the contrary, several youngsters started gathering on Mahatma Gandhi Road and Brigade Road since late evening. But there was a steep decline in the number of women revellers.

City Police Commissioner Ajai Kumar Singh too joined the celebrations at Mahatma Gandhi Road-Brigade Road junction. He said he was taking part in the revelry to assure the people that the situation was peaceful and one need not panic in the wake of bomb threats.

As the loud speakers blared popular numbers from the latest Kannada movies, such as "Machchaala, machchaala... ," the "spirited" young men danced to the tunes and hugged the fellow revellers and also the policemen on duty.

In the evening, armed policemen staged a march-past on Mahatma Gandhi Road to instil confidence in the public.

Though the police had announced that vehicles would be banned on Mahatma Gandhi Road and adjoining roads from 8 p.m., they did allow them till 11 p.m.

The police had closed the Richmond Road and Mysore Road flyovers for traffic as rash and drunken driving had claimed the lives of revellers during the earlier years. They also booked cases against several motorists.

The police conducted security checks at several leading hotels and kept a close watch on the movement of the people who came there.

Additional security was provided to Hotel Grand Ashok following the threat that three powerful bombs will explode there at 10.30 p.m. during the New Year celebrations.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) G.B. Chebbi said the threat turned out to be a hoax.

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