New year hoolingans set to vandalise Himachal again !


Year after year on new year’s eve, hooligans in the guise of new year revellers overrun Himachal Pradesh’s hill stations,and Shimla is the hardest hit by this fast spreading epidemic.

Along with the many decent tourists who head for the hills to celebrate the new year, there are also the black sheep in the crowds who relish ruining the new year holiday of others.

They can be spotted easily.Gangs of these young men descend on this picturesque town from the plains,often drunk and drugged.They are brash and loud,sometimes crude,abusive and violent.

As the sun sets for the last time in the old year and evening falls in the queen of the hills, it sees a big rush of cars like never before,all entering town and none leaving, as Shimla’s human and car population explodes many times.

If you happen to be a commuter heading uphill after Kalka you will see these rowdy young men charging up in their cars,with blaring music and frequent screaming.

As the night grows in the heart of Shimla the seething crowds push,shove, stamp and literally breathe down your neck on the Mall and the Ridge.

This is the time you need to watch for the hooligans in the crowd.As if let loose from jails,bands of them move menacingly on the streets,while the cold air reeks with alcohol.

Old timers here tell me they have stopped leaving their homes on new year’s eve,so bad they say is the atmosphere in Shimla on the last day of the year.

Jostling for space at popular Scandal Point

They say the noisy tourists make it hard for them to stroll on the streets,their glares and sometimes verbal assaults of women both local and tourist is enough to ruin their family new year celebrations.

But the most disappointing is the attitude of the police who often stand by silently and ignore the boisterous and beserk men.

Smoking,shouting,spitting even walking on the wrong side of the Mall road is not allowed by the police on 364 days of the year.But on new year’s eve there seem to be no rules.

Strangely,all the rules are broken on this day as gangs of youth screaming with liquor bottles in their hands (unthinkable on the Mall)awkwardly and crudely shouting ‘happy new year’.

Some of the agitated men can even be seen fighting and clashing with each other,except the policemen don’t seem to be in the mood to do anything,they only stand by and watch the show silently.

Why don’t you act I have asked the armed khaki men over the years.They say they are instructed by their bosses to be patient with tourists who are simply enjoying new year celebrations their style.

They say, police disciplining of new year revellers will give a bad name to Himachal tourism and send a wrong message to visitors.

But many residents naturally dismiss this attitude of the police.Instead they insist these hooligans in the garb of new year revellers should be dealt with strongly by the local police.

Many of the rowdy revellers come in from Punjab,Chandigarh,Haryana and Delhi.Their cars are already fuelled.They come stocked with liquor and eatables.

Many of them don’t even spend a night in a hotel here.Some don’t even buy a meal,they only munch the packed ‘parathas’ from home.

After spending a few hours in Shimla and the nearby hills they return without spending a rupee in Himachal.So how is Himachal tourism or the people of the hill state gaining by their arrival, many ask !

Infact, these hooligans come here only to shout,scream,fight and puke on the streets and return in the wee hours after polluting the queen of the hills.

A travel agent told me such people only leave behind empty liquor bottles,plastic bags and unpleasent memories both for the local and the sober tourist.

And as if this wasn’t enough,even as they drive uphill or downhill they pose a big accident threat to busy commuters on the Kalka-Shimla highway.

It is time the state government,mainly the police department puts an end to the spread of ‘hooligan tourism’ and make Shimla a civilised place on new year’s eve !

Photo Credit: Amit Kanwar

In a 20 year career published widely. He has worked for the BBC, AFP, The Statesman, IANS and the Business Standard . Known for his hard hitting writing and occasional off-beat stories. He lives in Shimla.

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3 Comments

  1. says: Narad

    Baldev ji, Namaskar

    Brilliant article!!! Congratulations for writing such a truthful one. Lest you be crucified like your previous article about ‘Punjabisation of Himachal’ this one should be an eye opener for any self respecting Himachali. The way complete rowdiness prevails all day on 31st in Shimla bazaars when crowds from Punjab and Delhi overtake our town, when no family can venture out lest they be accosted with lewd behavior on our streets, when the entire administration seems to kiss their a$$.

    This is nothing to do about Himachal Tourism. This is about decency. Our decency is taken for granted. Just have a look around how Himachalis are treated in Chandigarh and Punjab. It is a curse as few Himachalis from the political class seem to have sold their soul to the outsiders.

    Once again, kudos for writing such a truthful article!!

  2. says: Manish Shukla

    Any type of action that disrupts peace, troubles fellow citizens and is vandalish in nature must be abolished. Government role becomes much more important to curb such rebellious actions. I’ve witnessed Himachal police being non-serious and ignoring such behaviors. Last time, when I visited Shimla, I found few folks drinking in public place, dancing , shouting and waving beer bottles. It was on Kufri road and I guess, it was some marriage party. So, generally speaking it is not just Punjabi or outsiders, even insiders have shown such nonchalant manners. Baldev keep writing, you are doing good work. We must expose names of officials responsible for maintaining law n order. In addition, every himachali should report such activities to authority and authority in turn should take quick action. Honestly, public intoxication must be curtailed. People can drink in hotels, to your point, spend some money there. Anyone littering must be punished with hefty fine. In sum, authority should get strict and himachali should find pride in being Himachali and stay strong as one pahadi community.

  3. says: Rajneesh

    Nice Article, Unless a strict punishment is not publically demonstrated, hooligans will keep doing their foolish acts. Blaming, Punjab, UP or Other States, in tourism phenomenon is worthless, somewhere there is an element of “Inside Animal”that gets erupted in distant places where no one knows them.. and dose of liquor helps it gain more strength..or perhaps tourists only change their climate & place for a while, where they think its, right to do wrong things.

    Jo indecency kare, usko murga banao on Scandal Point and publish that in a national newspaper, then see who makes courage to do it again. In INDIA only “Bamboo Works” and that too very well ! Blaming anyone wont help here, murga making demonstration policy will certainly send a right New Year Message who take tourism destinations for granted !

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