To keep the moral police in check, the city will see increased police patrol this Valentine’s Day. The Mumbai Police issued a circular on Tuesday asking senior inspectors of all police stations to increase the number of patrolling officers at chowpatties (beaches), colleges, gardens and sea-faces to avoid any untoward incidents.
A close eye needs to be kept on organisations staging protests against Valentine’s Day, especially Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and others, to ensure that no untoward incident takes place and if matters escalate, strict action should be taken against these organisations, the circular issued in Marathi stated.
It added that taking advantage of the situation, workers belonging to these organisations harass and attack couples. In the past, they have made videos of harassing them and posted them on social media causing further embarrassment to the couples, the police stations have been informed.
Police not taking chances this time
No untoward instances have been reported in the recent past, but Mumbai Police is not taking any chances this Valentine’s Day. “There could be an impact if any right-wing organisation issues a statement in any other state,” said a police officer, referring to Bajrang Dal’s plan to deploy 250 “activists” in Dehradun to ensure that nothing “immoral” takes place on Valentine’s Day. There have been cases where young men have “forced” girls to accept gifts or confessions of love, resulting in the need for police intervention.
“They even abuse and outrage the modesty of women at isolated locations during such acts moral policing,” the circular said. In the past, such people have also ransacked shops that sell Valentines Day gifts, it added.
Officers said they have been asked to keep a close tab on the movements of workers of such organisations. “With Lok Sabha elections nearing, some right-wing organisations may target couples on February 14 to be in the limelight,” said an IPS officer.
“We have been asked to get information on their movement through our sources, so that we can post personnel at respective places before they actually target anyone,” said an officer.
The police said forces would also be deployed in colleges. “Students in colleges tend to approach girls. Whenever it turns out to be one-sided or if the girl happens to be seeing someone else, fights may break out between youths. To ensure such things don’t happen, we shall be deploying staff,” said an officer.