Delhi’s India Gate lawns out of bounds, visitors return disappointed | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Delhi’s India Gate lawns out of bounds, visitors return disappointed

Jan 27, 2024 01:23 AM IST

The closure was to control crowds and avoid damage to the area ahead of the Beating Retreat ceremony. Visitors said an advisory should have been issued.

Unlike the previous years when about 200,000 to 250,000 people thronged the India Gate lawns after the Republic Day Parade got over, the crowds were significantly thinner on Friday as the lawns around the historic monument and those running parallel to Kartavya Path, the parade venue, were kept out of bounds to the public citing crowd control, Delhi Police officers said on Friday evening.

New Delhi, India - Jan. 26, 2024: Vehicles stuck in traffic jam at India Gate circle after the Republic Day Parade, in New Delhi, India, on Friday, January 26, 2024. (Photo by Sanjeev Verma/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)
New Delhi, India - Jan. 26, 2024: Vehicles stuck in traffic jam at India Gate circle after the Republic Day Parade, in New Delhi, India, on Friday, January 26, 2024. (Photo by Sanjeev Verma/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)

The closing of the India Gate and Kartavya Path lawns did lead to a sharp decline in visitors, but it also gave rise to chaos as those reaching the lawns with their families and friends became confused about whether to remain there or more elsewhere.

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As a result, people started gathering on the India Gate Circle, the C-Hexagon, some of them in their vehicles, leading to traffic snarls that lasted for four to five hours after the parade concluded, two police officers said, asking not to be named.

Nearly 80 traffic police and security personnel deployed around the India Gate faced difficulties in managing the traffic at the C-Hexagon and its connecting radials but they did their best to disperse the loitering crowd, remove haphazardly parked vehicles, and prevent revellers from turning the area into one big a selfie point, one of the officers said.

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“There was confusion among visitors as they were caught unawares by the decision to keep India Gate and the Kartavya Path lawns closed. Today’s footfall after the parade was not more than 35,000. Unlike previous years, when the gathering had gone beyond our control, the crowd management was much easier this time. However, traffic was affected for a few hours as people thronged the India Gate circle to take selfies,” said a senior traffic police officer, present at the spot.

Visitors expressed their disappointment over the closing of India Gate and Kartavya Path lawns and said an advisory about the closure should have been issued.

“I have been visiting India Gate with family every year on Republic Day since my childhood. This time, my eight-year-old cousin was with me. She was excited as it was her first such visit. We walked to the India Gate from Central Secretariat Metro station only to be informed by the personnel there that the lawns were closed. It was disappointing, especially for my cousin,” said 21-year-old Zubia Mehak, an IGNOU graduate.

Another visitor, Deepak Rathi, said their holiday was ruined because he and his family first went to the Delhi Zoo, which was closed on account of it being a Friday, and then they reached India Gate, only to be told that even the lawns were closed.

“The agencies should have issued a public advisory if they had decided to keep the India Gate and Kartavya Path out of bounds. Visitors like us feel harassed,” said Rathi.

On being asked why the lawns were kept closed on Friday, the second police officer said it was taken to avoid damage to plant and other street and lawn furniture placed there for the national event. “Also, the arrangements for the Beating Retreat ceremony at Kartavya Path on January 29 is another reason,” he said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Karn Pratap Singh has been writing on crime, policing, and issues of safety in Delhi for almost a decade. He covers high-intensity spot news, including terror strikes, serial blasts and security threats in the national capital.

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