September 19, 2007 1:02:44 am
If last week, the Marina Beach was seen deserted because of a tsunami scare, now it is the city’s police force that’s threatening to clear the beach.
On Monday, as several young couples relaxed on the picturesque Marina sands, some men seen lying on the laps of their girlfriends or merely sitting close to each other, a team of city police, swooped down and picked them up for “indecent behaviour in public”. The police went as far as to complain to the parents of the 22 couples, who were seen crying and trying to hide their faces with their dupattas in the police station. Many just ran away before they were caught.
Those who were caught were let off only after their parents were informed about their “bad behaviour”. The new city police chief, Nanchil Kumaran, is said to be behind the crackdown. In fact, just before the police team caught the couples, a few policewomen in mufti were sent to ‘mark’ those “behaving indecently”.
Then a special police team rounded up the couples and took them to the nearby police station for questioning. The police team also claimed to have ‘caught’ some schoolgirls during the raid.
According to the police, the students claimed they had come to the beach “to discuss lessons with their classmates”. The police threatened to continue the drive until “couples stopped visiting the beach to get intimate”.
This is not the first time that the city police had taken on the role of moralists to make youths in Chennai behave. In August 2003, police swooped down on couples at the Anna Nagar Tower Park, a popular landmark, taking into custody 10 men, aged between 20 and 32. The men had come along with their girlfriends for a pleasant evening at the Park “without the knowledge of their parents”.
The police actually went to the extent of producing the men before a city magistrate, who remanded them in 15 days judicial custody. The women, who were also picked up by the police, were sent home after their families were informed about their ‘misdemeanour’. The action had been part of then City Police Commissioner K Vijay Kumar’s move “to curb illegal activities in the park such as bringing girl friends without the knowledge of their parents, sitting in dark places, committing indecent activities and annoying the general public.”
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