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Have Pune cops gone overboard in moral policing?

Tuesday, 4 September 2012 - 12:50pm IST | Agency: DNA
The Pune rural police busted an illegal booze party at Maya lounge in Wagholi during the wee hours of Sunday.

The Pune rural police busted an illegal booze party at Maya lounge in Wagholi during the wee hours of Sunday. They arrested four party organisers and booked 300 youths, including 110 women from the party venue. Police said that the organisers violated the guidelines. However, the party-goers claimed it was an instance of archaic moral policing wherein the police treated them as criminals and impinged on their right to have fun. Are the police acting as spoilsport or have followed the rule book? DNA finds out.

Youngsters need to have their own peer community
This is just selective combing being done on different parties, may be the police were given the orders to do so. There are known places in the city where such parties regularly take place, why don’t the police ever raid them? More than 50% of India’s population is under the age of 25. They need to have their own peer community and group gatherings. They need freedom to dance, listen to music of their choice and have fun. By raiding a gathering of youngsters and exposing them next day through media is all part of moral policing. This shows the government’s hypocrisy, which gives permission to start pubs and discotheques and then later issues orders to close the same places on moral grounds.  On one hand, India is witnessing an IT boom and you want the youngsters to be equipped and tech savvy. But on the other hand, you force the youth not to change their mindset. This is India of 21st century and not 18th century.      
Ma Faiza, International DJ

Why did the police treat party-goers like criminals?
There are two points to note regarding the raid that was carried out by the police at a lounge on the outskirts of Pune. If the lounge owner or organisers are violating the law then the police can take action and shut the place down. Since last one year, the lounge has organised many such parties. So, why did the police never carried out raids previously? Secondly, it was not a drug raid but a regular raid, so why did the police treat the party-goers like criminals, beat them up, detained them till morning, kept them standing without food and access to their cellphones?
The police have violated their own code of conduct while raiding public places, wherein they have to treat detainees in a humanely manner, especially the women. How could the police detain young girls in the party till next day morning, when the law does not permit them to do so? The police commented that girls were dancing and wearing clothes that were indecent in the party. What right does the police have in passing remarks as to how an individual dances or wears clothes in a privately held party? This clearly shows moral policing.
Tehseen Poonawalla, entrepreneur

If we are wrong, let the court take the decision
If the party-goers or anyone claims that the police have gone overboard or are playing spoilsport, we will be answerable to the court. What we have done is as per the law and within the ambit of what is legal. If we are wrong, let the court take the decision. We have followed the legal procedure.   
Manojkumar Lohiya, SP, Rural Police, Pune

Illegal detention is not right
I got to know that not only youngsters but even family people who had gone with their children to the lounge  for dinner were detained. For illegal activities or criminal offence, girls can be detained but looking at the sections under which the police booked these party-goers, it looks like they have gone overboard. For example, in order to take blood samples the police needs to take permission of the court or can do it only on the basis of a strong suspicion. I feel the police have crossed the limits of using their authority. Illegal detention or excessive use of power is not right. The police treated the youngsters as if they were criminals. With such a behaviour with the younger generation, they are bound to rebel in a wrong way, which can be bad for our society.
Asim Sarode, Advocate & Human Rights Activist

MNS workers were not involved in beating up youngsters
There are two ways of viewing the party and the police raid. We are against underage drinking and partying till late night. Also, such parties should not involve underage youngsters as they are not allowed to drink alcohol as per the law. I agree that not all at the party were underage, even adults were present. The procedure followed for raiding the party was not right and we oppose the police behaviour. The overnight detention especially of women and snatching cellphones of youngsters is totally wrong. The party-goers were not in a illegal place like an open field, they were in a lounge. I also want to clarify that our party workers who visited the venue after the police raid were there to help the youngsters. I have checked with my party members in Wagholi and none of them were involved in beating up any youngsters.
Ranjit Shirole, general secretary, MNS, Pune    




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