Basant celebrated in Rawalpindi despite ban; 117 arrested

RAWALPINDI: Basant was celebrated here in different areas of the Rawalpindi despite a ban, while police arrested 117 kite flyers and sellers and recovered over 4000 kites and 113 kite flying string rolls from their possession.

According to a police spokesman, Rawalpindi police arrested 54 ban violators during the crackdown and recovered over 2000 kites, 63 kite flying string rolls, liquor bottles, sound systems and other items.

R.A Bazar, Naseerabad, Race Course, Civil Lines, Airport, Westridge, Pirwadhai and Dhamial police managed to net 63 kite flyers and sellers on Friday and recovered thousands of kites and string rolls from their possession.

Police had made it clear that kite flying was banned and strict action would be taken against the violators, but the enthusiasts celebrated the Basant night without fearing the consequences.

The Rawalpindi Kite Flying Association said: “We have banned the use of metal strings and aerial firing during Basant. There is no justification to ban Basant anymore.”

Kite sellers also sold kites on black market and delivered kites to people in vehicles with tinted windows.

Basant festivity was seen in different areas, including Tench Bhatta, Peoples Colony, Dhok Syedan, Dhok Chirag Din, Dhok Chaudhary, Lal Kurti, Tariqabad, Rahimabad, Tahmaspabad, Gulistan Colony, Adara, Girja, Chauhar Harpal, Dhok Mastiq, Gawalmandi, Daryaabad and other areas.

In several areas, particularly in congested localities, police faced great difficulty in arresting the kite flyers.

Rawalpindi police, on the directives of City Police Officer (CPO) Syed Khalid Mehmood Hamdani, continued a special crackdown against kite sellers and flyers on Friday.

The spokesman said all police stations had been directed to accelerate the ongoing operations against kite-flying ban violators while special teams under the supervision of senior police officers were also conducting raids in different areas.

Superintendent of Police, Potohar said that all available resources were being utilized to deal with kite flying.

He said Police under the supervision of Senior Superintendent of Police, Operation, were making efforts to control kite flying, aerial firing and violation of the ban. The spokesman said that Rawalpindi district police had devised a plan to foil plans to celebrate the banned festival of Basant.

More than 1500 police personnel had been deployed on large rooftops in densely populated areas to check kite flying, where they were equipped with binoculars as well as other resources to apprehend those violating the law by flying kites. Drone cameras were also being used to track those involved in aerial firing, he said.

“Keeping in mind the need to protect the citizens from any untoward incidents, more than 1500 police officials were deployed to thwart any plans for Basant and drone operators are being used to monitor kite-flying,” he said.

Police officials have reiterated time and again that flying kites is a potentially dangerous sport that can lead to the loss of life, and those found disregarding its cost to human lives will be prosecuted according to law. The parents, teachers, scholars and civil society were also taken into confidence to play their role in preventing the celebration of Basant.

The Rawalpindi police had also launched an awareness campaign about the hazards of the risky sport with the help of religious scholars, who were asked to make announcements on their respective mosques’ sound systems about the demerits of kite-flying.

The police had finalized arrangements for live monitoring of all densely populated areas, while all Station House Officers (SHOs) had been directed to ensure strict surveillance of kite sellers in their areas.

The police teams were trying to trace and arrest culprits involved in buying and selling killer strings and kites through social media, he said adding, monitoring of courier services and passenger vehicles coming from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was also being tightened, so that any kites and chemical strings being brought to the city for Basant could be seized.

SSP Operations, Rawalpindi, Hafiz Kamran Asghar said that no one would be allowed to violate the ban and strict action in accordance with the law would be taken against kite flyers and sellers.

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