NEW DELHI: There was high drama at a Bob Geldof concert in south Delhi after police denied permission to hold the gig. However, after much negotiation, the organizers were granted permission by Delhi high court for the event.
Police said over 10,000 people were expected to attend the concert at NSIC grounds near Modi Mill in southeast Delhi. This would have posed a security issue, especially at a time when security in the capital has been beefed up due to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
“We denied permission due to security and law and order issues. We had informed the organizers of our decision well in advancemuch before the concert,” said a senior police officer.
In a special Overruling objections by cops and the Centre, HC-in a special hearing held at the residence of Justice Hima Kohli, HC on Sunday granted permission for ‘Sounds of Freedom’ to be held. This was after organizers had to give an undertaking that no more than 1,500 people will be allowed to attend the concert.
“Keeping in mind that tickets for the concert have already been sold…and in view of the undertaking given by the petitioners…they are permitted to hold the concert,” Justice Kohli said. She also directed the organizers to inform all authorities concerned, including traffic police,
of the decision. HC also appointed two officials as court commissioners to ensure the undertaking given by organizers is adhered to.
The HC nod for the concert came despite strong opposition from standing counsel for the Centre, Sumeet Pushkarna, who backed the decision of Delhi Police’s licensing department to reject the request. Delhi Police justified its decision denying permission by saying the event could disrupt traffic flow and it is occupied with election-related duties and a recruitment drive.
Police justified denying permission by pointing out that the concert may cause traffic jams and law and order problems.
However, organizers said they had reduced the number of vehicles permitted to park in the area and were encouraging people the audience to reach the venue by Metro. They also claimed concessions were made to accommodate security concerns, yet police acted arbitrarily.
The concert, featuring singer Bob Geldof, Egyptian rappers-Arabian Knightz, Indian Ocean, Kailash Kher and 15 other bands, was finally allowed to commence at 5pm.
“Permissions were cancelled at the nth hour as police couldn’t guarantee the safety of those attending,” said Teamwork’s Sanjoy Roy who organized the show. He added that this was the third time the concert was cancelled citing security reasons, earlier being in February this year and once last year.VIEW IN DETAIL