No room for preaching

No room for preaching

Moral Policing

No room for preaching

The City may be in a constant state of simmering indignation regarding the restrictions placed on its night life, but party-buffs do have a silver lining to turn to: the situation isn’t as bad as that in Mumbai.

There, a posse of self-righteous policemen — headed by Vasant Dhoble, who has since become the target of much abuse on social-networking groups — has incurred the wrath of restaurant owners, disc jockeys, pub patrons and the general public by clamping down hard on the City’s party scene.

Propping up their asinine campaign on the somewhat shaky stilts of archaic laws — many of which were laid down one and a half centuries ago — Dhoble and his troupe have been invading bars and restaurants, snapping pictures of everything they consider an ‘offence’ and booking party-goers on nonsensical claims.

In fact, two of the woman, who Dhoble’s men cheerfully branded as prostitutes, have actually filed a defamation case against the self-proclaimed moral police. Looking at the unpalatable happenings in Mumbai, Bangaloreans are seething with indignation.
The issue here isn’t just that the principles of a select few are being inflicted on the masses. It’s also that these groups are quoting ancient legislation to back their claims.

 As Beena Pillai, an advocate, points out, “Morality varies from person to person and should not be brought into the legal framework. In Mumbai, certain groups are subjecting the people to their own morals — and in such cases, the first to be harmed are always the women.”

She strongly endorses the need to overhaul the entire legal system, saying, “India is still following 150-year-old laws. These have to be modified — in countries like the UK, laws have been amended time and again to remain relevant. Here, on the other hand, political games make amendment very difficult. For a law to be changed, the parliament has to pass it — and in India, parties are too concerned about their vote banks to actually push for change and accept new policy.”

Could this sort of intolerance and uncalled-for policing find room in Bangalore? Spoorthi, a student of Mount Carmel College, believes it just might.

 “There’s no denying it’s gone way past its limits. After all, these are woman who have probably worked hard all day and want to relax over dinner and have a drink — there’s no justification to book this as a crime. But although this kind of culture doesn’t exist in Bangalore right now, it could in the future. After all, there are certain elements here who protest against the partying and going out at night. And let’s not forget, it has happen in Mangalore as well,” she notes.

However, Varun, an engineering student, strongly believes that this kind of policing won’t be tolerated in the least in Bangalore. “Every person has the right to do what he wants as long as it’s within stipulated legal boundaries. We already face the issue of a stunted night life and many such restrictions.

If something illegal is taking place, we have a judiciary to take care of it,” he notes. “Moral policing is nothing less than a crime. In fact, I think laws should be passed providing heavy punishments — such as jail time and fines — on the people who carry it out,” he concludes.

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