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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 October 2005, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Mumbai police say no to festival
By Monica Chadha
BBC News, Mumbai

Mumbai police
The authorities say the rape incidents have demoralised the police force
Police in India's western city of Mumbai (Bombay) will not be celebrating a Hindu festival after the arrest of two policemen in rape cases.

A senior police official told the BBC the celebrations were called off as the incidents had caused concern in the police force.

Every year, the local police organise week-long cultural programmes for the policemen and their families.

Hundreds of rape cases are reported in India every year.


Cultural programmes organised by the police in Mumbai during the Diwali festival (festival of lights) include hosting plays, music nights as well as organising fairs for the children.

The highlight of this week-long cultural extravaganza is "Bollywood night" when many film stars attend the function, mingle with policemen and sometimes perform for them.

All these functions have been cancelled.

"It was an unanimous decision of the police force as every member is concerned about what happened," said a senior police official, Subhash Awate.

During the Diwali festival, Hindus offer prayers to Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth

"These rape incidents have demoralised the force and from a constable to an officer, no one is interested in any form of celebration."

The image of Mumbai police has been dented after the two rape incidents that occurred within 24 hours of each other.

Earlier this week, a constable allegedly raped a girl rag-picker near the international airport in Mumbai. He was caught by passers-by who suspected foul play when the two were walking on the road.

In another incident in a central suburb of the city, another constable was arrested for allegedly raping a girl who used to dance in bars before these were shut down.

Both the constables have been suspended from duty and are in police custody awaiting trial.

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