A Kerala couple’s Facebook Live video of the cops moral policing them went viral recently. Although instances of people staring at a young couple holding hands or barely walking together in public spaces is not rare, Vishnu Vichu and his female friend decided to give it back to the police this time, who claimed that they were “hugging” each other first and then, that they were “kissing”. On being accused of something they said they hadn’t done, the couple asked the cops to furnish proof that they were indulging in ‘indecent behavior’. Now, the State Police chief of Kerala has issued an apology as a response to the case.
Loknath Behera, the Chief wrote that he was “pained” to learn about the incident and specifically mentioned that there is no legal ban on Public Display of Affection (PDA) and in our country any such restrictions stem from our culture but not from the law.
“I am pained to learn the complaint (though I have not received), about some police personnel (Vanitha Police), who reportedly misbehaved with a couple in the premises of the Museum, Thiruvananthapuram yesterday (21.02.2017). This, I wish, had not happened. As the State Police Chief, I have ordered an enquiry to be conducted by Shri. Manoj Abraham IPS, IGP, Thiruvananthapuram Range. The law of the land is very clear. No one has the right to disturb or harass any couple anywhere more so in public places. In our country we impose self-restrain on Public Display of Affection (PDA) due to our culture and tradition, though there is no legal ban for PDA.
However, many people in the society do not support public display of affection in any public place and they normally call the police. The police cannot ignore such calls, therefore they reach the place and after reaching the place they must act according to law with all politeness. Another side is that, sometimes an under aged girl become a victim (without knowing or realizing various implications) of such act by some men, it is the duty of the police to ensure such under aged girls not be trapped and not becomes a victim of a crime.
Police is a law enforcement agency, it is not the moral keeper of the society. Therefore we in the police are to be conscious about or aware of our duties and responsibilities. The bottom line is that, we should interact with the people in the society, for whom we are working, to ensure their safety and security without infringing on their privacy and their constitutional rights.”