Mumbai: In the wake of angry reactions from the public, Mumbai Police chief Rakesh Maria has directed a probe into last week’s raids by Malwani police at hotels and a beach here for indecent behaviour in public in which 13 couples and 35 others were rounded up.
Maria yesterday instructed Additional Commissioner of Police (North) Fatehsingh Patil to conduct an inquiry into the matter. This came after criticism on social media from people who asked why consenting adults cannot stay together.
Consenting adults who checked into several hotels in Madh Island and Aksa area were in for a shock when they found policemen knocking on the doors of their rooms and rounding them up on August 6. The arrests were made after raids were carried out by a team of police officials led by DCP Vikram Deshpande at several lodges, resorts, two-star hotels and on the beaches, police said.
Of those arrested, 13 were couples and 35 others were caught for consuming alcohol in public. In addition, police nabbed three women on charges of immoral trafficking and sent them to shelter home.
All the people were arrested from Madh Island and Aksa beach in western suburbs, said police. Under the Maharashtra Police Act, which was earlier known as Bombay Police Act, or Local Act Case (LAC), the station house officer can let the accused go after taking the fine from them with an undertaking that they will appear before the local magistrate when required.
“The 61 people were let off by taking a deposit of Rs 1,200 from each with an undertaking that they will appear before the local magistrate when required,” said Milind Khetle, senior inspector of Malwani police station.
Three cases were also registered under the Prevention of Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, police said. Social media responded angrily over police’s action asking, “How can conduct in a private room by two consenting adults be a public offence? Police has gone too far, needs counselling.”
“The BJP version of women’s safety and women’s rights. No surprises at all,” commented Mitali Saran on Twitter.
“What wrong have I done, asked a 21 year-old woman who was arrested with her companion. She alleged that a female constable slapped her when she questioned the action and refused to pay fine.
“This police-state nonsense is going mad! How can it be ‘public indecency’ if they were in hotel rooms?” another tweet said.