Turning a blind eye

Turning a blind eye

spirited People were seen passing around cigarettes and joints at the Metallica concert.

Although cigarettes and marijuana were strictly prohibited inside the venue, the perfunctory frisking at the entrance did nothing to stop hoards of youngsters from comfortably smuggling in both. And despite the fact that the venue came equipped with a bar, several chose to beat the high prices by sneaking in their own booze as well. Near the stage, many amongst the crowd were freely passing around lit cigarettes, and further behind the bar area, groups of youngsters could be seen huddled together, rolling joints and passing them around.

While this wasn’t an entirely unexpected behaviour, what came as a surprise was the apparent indifference of the police force on the grounds. Despite being completely aware of this blatant disregard for the rules, they did nothing whatsoever to prevent it. Rather, they chose to turn a blind eye to the proceedings. Metrolife speaks to people who attended the concert to find out more about this negligence.

Nikhil Anil Kumar, a designer, says that sneaking prohibited substances into the concert venue would have been a piece of cake for those thus inclined, since the frisking at the entrance was nothing more than a formality. “The security did check me, but not properly.
They just rushed through it, and ran their hands over my pockets once,” he says.
But given the rather ingenuous methods that several used to smuggle in packets of cigarettes and dope, this was a rather weak attempt at checking. Nikhil describes how some of the crowd were stashing cigarettes in their shoes, socks and even underpants.

“What was really surprising was that the police didn’t seem to care about it. I saw someone smoking a joint in front of a cop, but he didn’t even bother about it. The security was lax in that sense,” he admits.

Ashwin, a sales professional, agrees with this view. “It’s a fact that a lot of people managed to sneak drugs of various kinds into the venue. It’s also true that the cops at the venue did nothing about it. I feel it might be because they didn’t know where to start, since it was there all around — especially where I was standing,” he describes.

Aditya, a professional, adds to this description. “There were plenty of people smoking cigarettes and weed inside the venue. I especially noticed some people from abroad, who were smoking quite openly,” he describes, adding, “I didn’t really see any cops around. There were some security guards, but they were minding their own business and didn’t stop these smokers at all,” he says.

T Suneel Kumar, Additional Commissioner of Police (Law & Order), claims that the size of the crowd gathered at the Palace Grounds that evening was so large, that it was difficult for the police officials stationed there to take action against the people smoking and doping inside the venue. “We had around 500 officers there, including inspectors and DCPs. But I don’t think they could do anything at the venue, as there was a huge gathering of 20,000 people present on the grounds,” he said.

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