DGP Loknath Behera said that the police is a law enforcement agency, and not the keeper of society’s morals.

Kerala DGP orders inquiry into moral policing cops after live video goes viral
news Moral Policing Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 17:26

A day after a Facebook Live video of two Kerala police personnel moral policing a young couple in Thiruvananthapuram went viral, state police chief Loknath Behera ordered an inquiry into the incident on Wednesday.

Asserting that such an incident should not have happened, Behera has asked Thiruvananthapuram range IGP Manoj Abraham to head an inquiry into the incident. 

On Tuesday, a young couple – Vishnu and Arathy – were sitting together in the garden attached to the Napier museum, when they were accosted by two women police personnel, who accused them of vulgar behaviour. However, arguing back with the two officers, Vishnu live streamed the incident on Facebook. 

Commenting on the behaviour of the police personnel in a Facebook post, Behera wrote, "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." 

Ordering an inquiry into the incident despite not receiving a complaint from the couple, Behera said that the incident had deeply pained him. 

"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," the top official wrote on Facebook.

He added, however, that members of the public are often opposed to public displays of affection, and end up calling the police on such couples. 

"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," he wrote. 

The Incident

Vishnu had earlier told TNM that he and Arathy were confronted by the two police personnel who asked the couple if they were married. And when the answer was in the negative, they told them that such behavior in public was vulgar. In the FB video, Vishnu is then seen demanding to know what law he broke by sitting with his arm around the shoulders of a woman. 

"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 had told The News Minute soon after the incident. 

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


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