He was been booked under Section 119(a) of the 2011 Kerala Police Act which is meant to protect women from harassment

Heights of Moral Policing Guy gets booked for talking to his lover in a Palakkad public park
news Moral policing Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - 15:53

It was past noon on February 24 this year when 24 year-old Prasad and his lover were engaged in animated conversation, whiling away their time sitting in a corner of the Vadika gardens near the Palakkad fort region.

Suddenly a couple of policemen swooped in and wanted to know their relationship status as well as what they were doing there. What the uniformed chaps did not expect was Prasad’s blunt response when he replied that he was spending some time there talking to his lover.

Obviously that did not go down well with the ‘moral’ police who asked him to accompany them to the police station. Surprisingly they let the girl go away without asking for any personal details.

On the way to the station, one of them asked Prasad whether he did not think it wrong to openly use the term ‘lover’ while referring to his girlfriend to which Prasad retorted that he did not find the term in any way inferior to any of the usual terms one generally uses to refer to a female companion.

Well, they reached the station and after the usual procedures, Prasad was allowed to leave with the casual assurance that if a couple of people turned up on his behalf, the said matter would be brought to a close. Prasad thought no more about it as he believed his clear explanation of the said incident had convinced the authorities that nothing immoral or indecent had taken place.

Exactly a month later on March 23, Prasad got the shock of his life when the post brought him a summons from the court which asked him to appear before the Magistrate on April 2 in connection with the same incident.

And he was booked under Section 119(a) of the 2011Kerala Police Act. For all those not familiar with this act, it is one which is in place to ensure a safe social environment for women in the state.

To quote the relevant section verbatim:

119. Punishment for atrocities against women:

 (1) Any person who

(a) performs in public places, any sexual gestures or acts degrading the dignity of women or

(b) takes photographs or records videos or propagates them at any place in a manner affecting the reasonable privacy of women, shall, on conviction, be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine not exceeding ten thousand rupees or with both.

Going by the case which was filed against Prasad purportedly by the ‘vigilante’ police, apparently talking to your loved one in a public park amounts to degrading the dignity of women! 

None present in the park at that time had filed a complaint of any sort against Prasad and his companion. Speaking to The News Minute, Prasad sounds puzzled: “What I don’t get till now is why am I being asked to pay a fine of Rs.4000 and stay in the court premises until the court is dismissed –which by the way is the punishment which the police supposedly has in mind for him- when I have not done anything wrong?”

The police –in this case- cannot even accuse the couple to have indulged in a public display of affection which usually tends to raise the hackles of the pious lot who believe in shoving morality down each one’s throat for the betterment of the state and the nation as a whole.

Prasad says: “I was aware that the police here do this often to couples meeting in the park. Naturally, most couples give in without much fuss for fear of drawing their families’ attention to their relationships. But I have nothing to hide. And in any case, this is sheer harassment and an invasion of one’s privacy.”

Prasad hails from Mannarkadu in Palakkad and currently freelances as an editor of films while also doubling up as an assistant director to a couple of new-age movie-makers.

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