HYDERABAD: Pubs and restaurants in the city are beefing up security arrangements, but showing no signs of backing down after Bajrang Dal warned them against organising Valentine’s Day celebrations on February 14. Bajrang Dal shot off notices to pubs and restaurants threatening sit-ins before them if owners refused to comply with the diktat.
The right-wing body also issued notices to 28 schools and colleges demanding that students be prevented from observing the day.
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“Last year, some malls in Kukatpally held programmes despite being served notices. There was police intervention and the scene became ugly,” said Bajrang Dal media convenor Kailash Sajjan during a presser here. “We will burn effigies of Saint Valentine at several spots in the city. Our karyakartas will stage sit ins at any restaurant or pub that observes the day,” Sajjan added.
When asked if the group would — like it has in the past — force couples to exchange garlands and declare themselves married if caught together outside, Sajjan shot back: “All that is false propaganda. We will only counsel the couples and let them off.”
Pubs dig their heels in, but beef up security
Pub owners in the meantime are leaving nothing to chance and beefing up security, with some coughing up as much as Rs 10,000 or more to hire bouncers and extra security for the day to keep violent political outfits at bay.“Though the city is much safer than others, pub owners here feel security needs to be stepped up just to be on the safer side. Isolated incidents cannot be ruled out,” noted DJ Sharon Aamir.
Bouncers’ per day rates range from Rs 800 to Rs 1000. On average, a pub will have about 6 to 8 bouncers, which rises to around 15 on days such as Valentine’s Day to manage the crowds. “The last two years have been pretty chilled out, but that doesn’t mean we won’t beef up security. In fact, pub owners are getting in touch with cops who have been very supportive and prompt on such days,” added DJ Piyush.
Most owners note that Valentine’s Day is the next big thing for the clubbing industry in the city after New Year’s Eve in terms of walk-ins and sales. “We have made several preparations ranging from selfie booths, candlelight dinner settings and theme decorations to give couples the perfect experience,” noted a pub owner. Some pubs are getting DJs from cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, indicating how much money is expected to pour in. Ticket charges to certain pubs are as high as Rs 5,000.
“Ticket rates for single men will be significantly higher. This is to cover the cost to provide security to single women,” noted Sharon, adding, “On Valentine Day, there is a higher demand for female DJs. That’s because women feel safer when there is a woman DJ at the helm.”