Moral Policing
‘Did you see us kiss?’ Kerala couple hanging out at a park take on cops live on Facebook.

A few days ago, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had lashed out at the increasing instances of moral policing in the state. The CM wanted action against such people, but it seems some police personnel in the state did not get the message.

On Tuesday, Museum station police from the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram found themselves facing an unusual situation, when a couple publicly called them out for trying to enforce morality.

A couple, who were sitting together at the garden attached to the Napier museum in the city were accosted by two female police officers.

The police reportedly asked if they were married and when the answer was in the negative, the cops told them that such behavior in public was vulgar.

The man, Vishnu, immediately started a live video telecast on Facebook and can be heard questioning the police how their behavior was vulgar.

In the 3-minute Facebook live, one of the lady officers can be heard asking the woman Arathy whether she did not have parents at home. 

Vishnu repeatedly asks what’s the problem if he keeps a hand on a woman shoulder. He keeps on asking if the police officers saw them kissing or indulging in any other behavior that could be considered vulgar. The officers seem to be at a loss for words then.

“We’ll inform your parents and see what needs to be done, whether to marry you off or not. Otherwise, all this is not permitted here," one of the officers is heard saying at one point.

The couple who were taken into custody by the Museum police, were later let off after a case for causing public nuisance under section 290 of IPC was filed against the duo.

The incident comes only days after another FB user posted a live video of the police harassing young couples who visited the museum. 

Speaking to The News Minute, 23-year-old Arathy said that the two lady police officers approached them and demanded to know whether they were married.

"When we said we were not married, they said that such vulgar behaviour was not permitted in the premises of the museum. To this, Vishnu demanded to know what we had done wrong. In fact, this is a grave violation of human rights. How can the police evict us from the museum alleging that we caused public nuisance, when we did not?" Arathy asks. 

According to the couple, the police lectured them on good behaviour, saying that unmarried couple should not waste their time in parks and other public places. 

"They kept telling us what we did was wrong. But what wrong did we do? They didn't have any proof for our vulgar behaviour. At first, we did not agree to be taken to the station. Then 2 male officers joined and one of them verbally abused me. He called me a "bloody rascal" and asked us to cooperate. Once at the station, they summoned our parents, who said that they do not want to interfere in the matter," Vishnu told The News Minute. 

The police however stuck to their version and told TNM that the couple’s behaviour was creating public nuisance.

“The couple were reluctant to give their identity, so we arrested them,” said Latha, a Circle Inspector in the Women’s cell said.

Vishnu counters and says that increasing instances of moral policing in the state deeply worried him and that he finally decided to call out on such behaviour.

"A few months back, we faced a similar experience at Kanakamala in the city. We did not resist or speak against such behavior then, but this time, we decided it was getting too much," Vishnu said.