Police crack down on hookah bars, seven joint owners held : The Tribune India

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Police crack down on hookah bars, seven joint owners held

Students from affluent families book pvt parties at famous eateries

Police crack down on hookah bars, seven joint owners held

Officials with seizures made during raids on hookah bars in city. file

Tribune News Service

Nitin Jain

Ludhiana, March 30

In a bid to check underage intoxication, the Ludhiana Commissionerate Police have launched a crackdown on hookah bars operating illegally in the industrial hub of the state and have arrested owners and managers of at least seven such joints in past few days.

Besides, famous restaurants and pubs were also raided during the special clampdown to deter the service of hookahs, tobacco, nicotine, liquor, beer, intoxicants and other such alcoholic drinks to the youth below the age of 18 years, mainly from affluent families and leading schools of the city.

Commissioner of Police (CP) Mandeep Singh Sidhu told The Tribune here today that a special team under the supervision of JCP (City) Saumya Mishra and comprising ADCP (Zone 3) Shubham Aggarwal and ACP (West) Mandeep Singh Sandhu had been formed to act against such illegal hookah bars and restaurants, which were serving hookahs, tobacco, nicotine, liquor, beer, intoxicants and other alcoholic drinks to the juvenile customers by charging exorbitant rates.

He said a recent raid at one of the leading restaurants in South City had revealed that over 24 minor children, aged 17 and 18, were having a party with hookahs, tobacco, alcohol and beer served to them in abundance. “We arrested the owner and manager of the eatery and seized the stuff which was being illegally served to the underage customers,” the CP said.

JCP (City) Saumya Mishra shared that students from top schools and belonging to the rich business class book private parties at high-end hotels and bars, where nobody other than those mentioned in the booking list were allowed entry.

“Since most of the children involved are in their growing age and are oblivious of the risks and harms caused by the intake of hookah, alcohol and other intoxicants, the bar and hotel owners are mainly responsible for playing with the lives of the youth and spoiling their future,” she said while adding that the party hoppers were charged exorbitantly and the eatery owners were making quick bucks out of the illegal business.

Mishra said special interactions were also being held with school heads and parents to make them aware of the illegal activities and involve them in the preventive action.

The police have invoked law provisions under Sections 188, 269, 270 of the IPC, Sections 6, 7, 20, 24 of the COTPA, Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, and Section 77 of the Juvenile Justice Act against the owners and managers of the erring eateries. However, more harsh action was being mooted to act as a deterrent.

Children let off

To avoid naming and shaming children involved in such illegal acts, the police have decided to let them off and instead contacted their parents and schools to prevent them from indulging in such activities in future.

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