Mumbai : Valentines Show No Fear to Moral Police
by Rons Bantwal
Daijiworld Media Network - Mumbai
Mumbai, Feb 15: If St Valentine was alive today in 'modern' India, he would have been martyred all over again - this time by India's moral police. February 14 may be celebrated as a secular festival by lovers all over the world.
But on Saturday, it became a rallying cry for thugs across the country masquerading as the guardians of 'Indian culture'. Lovers mostly kept a low profile as right-wing Hindutva groups, especially in smaller urban centres, patrolled the streets in search of couples indulging in 'objectionable' behaviour.
In Mumbai, it was evident that couples weren't going to be browbeaten by the moral police, as they turned out in large numbers in the city's pubs and popular rendezvous spots for lovers, such as Bandra Bandstand and Juhu Beach. This was made easier by the large number of cops out on the streets.
In Pune, which has a high student population, Shiv Sena workers performed mock marriages of four couples near the Khadakwasla dam, a popular picnic spot. They also chased away couples from Peshwe Park, and thrashed a boy and assaulted a girl for protesting against them.
In Ujjain, Bajrang Dal activists brutally assaulted a brother and sister whom theymistook for a pair in love.
In Gwalior, more than 30 Shiv Sena activists were arrested while they were hunting for (human) couples in the zoo. In Bhopal, police arrested 11 Shiv Sena workers and six activists of the Sanskriti Bachao Manch, who were found loitering at Chinar Park looking for couples to harass.
In Jind, Haryana, a police sub-inspector, Moola Ram, was suspended after he allegedly beat up a young couple and dragged the girl by the hair to the police station. He had found her with her boyfriend in a hotel room. On reaching the police station, he could not find the relevant IPC section under which to book the couple. In Belgaum in Karnataka, Sri Rama Sene activists raided a V-Day party at a software firm, Katwa Infotech, attacking people and ransacking furniture.
Meanwhile Mangalore, the epicentre of the recent offensive from the moral police, resembled a ghost town, with couples keeping a low profile. Lovebirds in Bangalore, on the other hand, had a relatively peaceful V-Day, thanks to the preventive detention of Sri Rama Sene activists, including that of their leader Pramod Muthalik.