Following the nationwide anger and grief over the death of the Delhi gang-rape victim, New Year celebrations in India have lost the verve as several business houses, clubs and government offices decided either to cancel or scale down their New Year bashes.
The mood is subdued Monday, especially in Delhi and other north Indian cites, as the protests over the death of the 23-year-old gang-rape victim continued for the third day. The girl, referred widely in the local media as the “Delhi braveheart,” died Saturday, 13 days after she had been brutally raped and assaulted by a six-man gang on a moving bus in Delhi.
Sonia Gandhi, the chief of the ruling Congress party, said she and her party would not celebrate the New Year in view of the gang-rape incident.
"Sonia Gandhi has appealed to party men and well-wishers against coming to her to extend New Year greetings in the wake of gang-rape incident," party General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India (PTI).
Joining the nationwide mourning over the death of the rape victim, the Indian Army had issued advisories to all its formations across the country against holding New Year parties, said army officials, according to ANI.
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Several state governments and government offices have cancelled their New Year celebrations.
The Press Club of India (PCI) cancelled its New Year celebrations in New Delhi.
"We are not going to celebrate New Year's Eve in the club as a mark of respect to the brave girl who died after battling for life for 13 days," PCI secretary general Anil Anand said in New Delhi, PTI reported.
Punjab and Haryana governments had cancelled their planned celebrations on the eve of the New Year, officials said in Chandigarh.
Several hotels and clubs decided to join the mourning despite the fact that the toning down of the New Year festivities would adversely affect the revenue.
Vasant Vihar club in New Delhi has cancelled its celebrations and requested all residents to join a candlelight vigil praying for the departed soul at the club.
Sameer Bhagat, joint secretary of the Vasant Vihar Residents Welfare Association, said cancelling the celebrations involved a revenue loss. "But let's face it, what happened is a national loss," the Times of India reported.
Delhi Gymkhana, which had planned musical festivities, has canceled the event and asked its members to come and light candles in solidarity with the rape victim.
"It is a sad day for all. We join the nation in mourning for Nirbhaya [symbolic name of the rape victim] and have decided to cancel our New Year celebrations," said Colonel OP Malhotra, CEO of Delhi Gymkhana.
Several food joints and eatery chains in the capital have decided to keep their celebrations low-key following the incident, the local media reported.
"Yes, we are not offering any special packages on New Year's Eve. However, the outlet will be open," said Priyank Sukhija, owner of Boombox, Times of India reported.
The Delhi gang-rape incident and the protests following it had affected the business in five-star hotels in Delhi and Mumbai as bookings were reportedly down by at least 15-20 percent owing to the public sentiments and security issues, the local media reported.
The hotels and clubs have beefed up security for the New Year Eve following the incident.