Mahabalipuram-Moral police round Lodges

Moral police round up couples from Mahabs lodges

K Praveen Kumar, TNN, Aug 3, 2010, 12.47am IST

CHENNAI: The police may be at their wit’s end to prevent the ever-increasing crime rate in the city and its growing suburbs, but it is playing the role of moral police quite well. Last weekend, nearly two dozen couples who were on a leisure trip to Mahabalipuram were rounded up by the Kancheepuram police and humiliated in front of the public and taken to the police station for questioning.

The questioning, however, revealed that 18 out of the 21 couples picked up from 15 lodges in and around Mahabalipuram were husbands and wives who had come to spend the night at the famous tourism destination.

“A woman was murdered in a lodge in Mahabalipuram last week and we suspected illegal activities going on in these places. So our SP ordered a raid. We took them to the station since we were unable to question them in the open. So we took them to the station and after confirming theyw ere married couples, we released them,” R Manickam, deputy superintendent of police, Mahabalipuram, explained.

Similarly, in Chennai, Anna Square police is now chasing away couples thronging the Marina, saying they “disturbed” the people visiting the beach. While self-styled disciplinarians from the Bajrang Dal assaulted young couples celebrating Friendship Day in a park in Raipur, here the official machinery is doing almost the same.

“We are not against love. But we tell them not to express it in front of the public who visit the beach. We chase away such couples,” K Ramamoorthy, inspector of police, Anna Square, said. He also said that the Anna Square police did not allow young couples to sit in “dark areas” in the beach after 7 pm. “We ask them to move to place where there is enough lighting,” he said.

Police in Chennai is yet to come to terms with public expression of love and affection. “Young couples who do not have a place to spend some time together usually end up going to the beach. But now the police watch us and chase us away. They look at us as petty criminals or traffickers. What we do as grown up adults is nobody else business,” said Rajinder Kumar, a young professional from Kilpauk.

Many young men and women express the same view. “Most of us share our love life with our parents and most of them know that we go to beaches and pubs with our boyfriends. If they do not have a problem, what is the problem of the police? It is high time someone put an end to such intrusion into our privacy and freedom,” said Kavya Chandrasekhar, a college student from Anna Nagar.

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