Bouncers checking identity cards to verify age before letting people enter a bar is common across the world. But visitors to a mall on Gurugram’s M.G. Road need to submit their biometrics before being allowed entry to grab a drink.
Post 10 p.m. at MGF Metropolitan Mall on a weekday, a security officer asked visitors where they were headed. If they were going to any of the clubs in the mall, they were required to submit a copy of their ID cards and have their biometrics recorded.
“Please look into the camera. Okay. Now place your finger on this machine thrice,” said the security officer, while his colleague made a copy of the ID card and then asked for the visitor’s phone number.
The security officer explained that the biometric procedure began about 20 days ago after the police started conducting raids at malls.
“The biometric data is deleted every three days…Thanks to this, undesirable elements no longer lurk around the mall. The environment has become better for families to come and spend some time here,” he said.
Trouble finding a table
Over the past month, the Gurugram Police raided several clubs on M.G. Road to bust alleged prostitution rackets.
However, finding a table for two for a drink and dinner is no easy task despite the crackdown.
Further along Gurugram’s mall mile, families trickled out of Sahara Mall at 9.30 p.m. as men queued up outside Ignite Bar, and IPSA Bar and Lounge on the third floor.
As a woman tried to enter, the well-built manager outside Ignite Bar stopped her and said: “Madam,
kisi ladki ki
nahi ho sakti
wale kabhi bhi aa jate hain aur koi ladki mil jaaye toh
kar lete hain
[Madam, women are not allowed inside. The police conduct surprise raids and make arrests if a woman is found inside the club]”.
The woman then went to IPSA, where the manager said the same thing before turning her away.
Outside the mall, three police officers, including a policewoman, patrolled the service road and talked to street vendors as part of an ongoing drive.
When asked about the ban on entry of women in bars, the head constable reluctantly explained: “We have stopped entry of women for a few days because this street was full of people indulging in illegal activities. Now, as you see, there is hardly anyone. It has become cleaner.”
Entry at last
However, not all clubs turned away women or couples. Two clubs at MGF Metropolitan Mall and City Centre Mall that did open their doors to women were loud and dark. Lit only by strobes of light, they reeked of cigarettes.
At the bar of the club at City Centre Mall, were women in their early 20s who kept fiddling with their phones.
They were stationed across men seated in alcoves that provided some privacy. Around 11 p.m., two young men walked up to one of the women and whispered in her ear. She joined him at his table, where four other men were waiting.
As the night drew to a close, photocopies of ID cards were left on a table outside the bar.
To a comment that Delhi bars did not make such a fuss, the manager replied in a thick Haryanvi accent, “
Dilli alag hai
[This is Gurugram, sir. Delhi is different].”
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