New Delhi: Delhiites ushered in 2013 with new hopes and aspirations but in a subdued tone as the city was still reeling under the shock of the death of a 23-year-old girl who was brutally gang-raped in a moving bus a fortnight ago.

Connaught Place (CP), the hotspot for new year celebrations for years, wore almost a deserted look at midnight as a small crowd turned up to celebrate the occasion.

Police personnel outnumbered the revellers at CP. Last year, revellers had made CP a carnival site.

People visited popular markets and fun spots on New Year eve where police kept a tight vigil to ensure that the festivities went ahead without any untoward incident but the celebrations were low-key when compared to the past.

Several clubs, including the Press Club of India and Delhi Gymkhana, and five-star hotels cancelled their New Year revelries following the death of the girl and cremation on Sunday.

Protests were held at Jantar Mantar where a makeshift memorial was also built.

During the day, a large number of students took out a march in CP, protesting against the gang rape of the young girl. The Central Park in the CP was closed and a banner read it was under renovation.

Several restaurants and eating joints at CP were decorated for the celebrations.

All roads leading to the CP were shut down with heavy police deployment at key areas.

The Rapid Action Force equipped with water cannons and riot gears was deployed in the inner circle of CP.

It was a no-vehicle zone this evening at CP to control the crowd in the New Year hotspot. Police personnel were in huge numbers there, keeping a close watch on the revellers.

Policemen armed with alcometres were out on streets to check drunken driving as additional personnel were deployed across the city in the night to maintain law and order.

Delhi Police also said that for drunken driving, besides the cash fine upto Rs 2,000 and suspension of driving licences, defaulters may also be given a jail term.

City police made elaborate security and traffic arrangements to ensure that the celebrations passed off peacefully. Vehicle checks were stepped up at locations like malls and hotels. Traffic regulations were also in place to ensure Delhiites have a smooth run up to the celebrations.

Police personnel were posted at all hotels, restaurants, markets and religious places which were drawing people in large numbers.

Owners of pubs were asked to immediately alert officials on any probable trouble-makers. "We have been given strict instructions to keep an eye on motorists driving under the influence of alcohol and personnel have been stationed at various locations to ensure the same," a senior police official said.

"Every year we go out for having whole night fun but this year I have cancelled all programme as I am sad for the girl who is of my age. And to be honest, I am afraid to go out in night in Delhi, it is an unsafe city for women," Neha, who along with her friends came to CP, said.

"It may be a new year for entire world but for Delhilites it is a sad day. If a person is not safe in Bus then were in Delhi is he or she safe. Earlier being a resident of Delhi we were afraid of terrorist attacks now we are afraid of rapists too," Karan Sharma said.

(Agencies)

Latest News from India News Desk