Thursday turned out to be a tough day for top police officers as a they made security arrangements for Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's visit to a fishing colony in Versova.
Labyrinthine bylanes leading to the venue inside the fishing settlement, which is located very close to the sea, made the cops' job very challenging. Nearly 400 policemen were deployed.
All the routes to the area were blocked an hour before the rally began around 12.30 pm.
Not wanting to take any chance, especially after the 26/11 attacks, six boats full of gun-toting cops were deployed to shield any intrusion from the sea. The police also temporarily shut down the ferry service from the location.
Though the organisers had demanded that over 1,000 people be allowed to enter the fishing village, cops let only 427 in. Even senior Congress MLA Gurudas Kamath's personal assistant was not allowed to enter the area as he did not a pass, said insiders.
"The area is thickly populated with dense slums. One could approach the venue only by walking. The security arrangements were made keeping these things in mind," said a senior official responsible for securing the area.
All the major political parties are trying to woo the city fisherfolks, who are a closely knit community. The Versova colony has a long association with political and freedom movements since the pre-independence days when many of its residents took active participation in various rallies called by Gandhiji and Jawaharlal Nehru.