Outrage after policemen begin filming couples in city’s famous Cubbon Park
BANGALORE , DEc 3, 2012
Taking a leaf out of Mumbai’s hockey stick-wielding cop Vasant Dhoble, who had hit the headlines for his crackdown against pubs and restaurants, the Bangalore police have armed its force with cameras to curb ‘immorality’ in the city.
For the past two weeks, ‘armed’ policemen have been tailing lovers at the famous Cubbon Park, known for its dense green foliage and ample private space, sparking an outrage. “This ridiculous and another example of Bangalore police’s direct encroachment into the lives of citizens,” K S Vimala, vice-president, Akhila Bharata Janawadi Mahila Sanghatan,said.“Thisisafreecountry and we all have our right to a moment… right to express.”
The police say they had to resort to the measure following several complaints of misbehaviour and indecent acts in public places.
“You have to see the park to understand why we have taken this measure,” a senior police officer said. “Policemen have been told not to disturb couples who are not misbehaving.Ifacouplecrossestheline, they will first be told politely. If they continue, cops will aim the camera at the couple, pretending to shoot. In extreme cases, however, they will take shots and use it as evidence, if need be. With this good intention, we have taken this step,” he said.
Though police claim that ‘immoral’ acts have come down, not manyareimpressedbytheintrusion into their private lives.
“Indecent or immoral are debatable terms; nobody can be a judge of that,” Vimala said.
“This type of moral policing is not acceptable at all,” she added.
Slamming the police action, Advocate Chandrika Pateel said, “It is unlawful to capture someone’s image without permission, especially in his/her private moments. No rule states that a couple can’t hold hands in public, but if the police think so, let them catch those who smoke in public rather than those who breathe fresh air in parks,” Chandrika Pateel, advocate, said.
Inspector Badrinath of Cubbon parkpolicestationinsistedthatthey were not harassing anyone. “It is an effort to control illegal and immoralactivitiesinthepark.Bangaloreans are proud to have such a big and beautiful park in the city. We should maintain its values and beauty. There is no intention to harass people. Also, the law allows us to book a nuisance case against thoseengagingindecentactsatsuch places.”
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December 3, 2012 at 11:02 am
They didn’t think of arming policemen with cameras at bus stops and train stations, to ‘curb’ street sexual harassment?