After much outrage, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) removed the banner prohibiting entry to unmarried couples, which was put up outside the park.

The banner which says that unmarried couple are not allowed inside the parkPhoto: Twitter/Meera Sanghamitra
news Controversy Thursday, August 26, 2021 - 14:03

Taking moral policing to new heights, the Indira Park management in Hyderabad’s Domalguda erected a banner outside the park stating that unmarried couples will not be allowed inside, seemingly to prevent any intimacy between young couples. However, after the picture of the poster surfaced on social media platforms and many users criticised the move, the management took down the banner. Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) officials clarified that the banner was put up by officers in lower ranks without their knowledge.

The incident was brought to notice by activist Meera Sanghamitra on Thursday, August 26, who tagged GHMC Mayor G Vijayalaxmi on Twitter and wrote that the move was unconstitutional. “New low and new level of moral policing by Indira Park management in Hyderabad! A public park is an open space for all law-abiding citizens, including consenting couples across genders. How can 'marriage' be a criterion for entry! @GHMCOnline and @GadwalvijayaTRS, this is clearly unconstitutional,” Meera wrote.

Shortly, the tweet gained traction, with many calling out the authorities for their moral policing.

Responding promptly to the tweet, the GHMC removed the banner and “regretted the inconvenience” caused. The authorities said that they have asked the local police to visit the park regularly and maintain vigil to ensure a “serene atmosphere in the park”.

Speaking to TNM, GHMC Secunderabad Zonal Commissioner B Srinivas Reddy said, “We were just informed about the existence of such a banner following which we have removed it. The banner was put up by low-level officers. We were not informed about it. When it was brought to our notice we removed it promptly.”

Meera, however, demanded that there should be an inquiry into the incident and action should be initiated against those who put up the banner without authorisation.

Moral policing in Hyderabad’s parks, however, is not new. In February this year, on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, the Hyderabad police had prevented young unmarried couples from accessing parks and other public spaces around Tank Bund. The police claimed that they took this decision to avoid confrontation with right-wing vigilante groups like the Bajrang Dal.

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