In a directive issued by the Mumbai police commissioner on Thursday, police stations across the city were asked to crack down on lovebirds that meet at secluded places. The notice was later revoked and altered to say that action would be directed against molesters and muggers and not the couples they target.
The notice, now void, argued that couples face the peril of getting mugged or becoming victims of rapists at isolated spots, and so action would be taken against those found canoodling at lonely public places.
The notice identified the hotspots for couples ‘who are in love’ - Girgaum Chowpatty, Worli sea face, Marine Drive, Dadar chowpatty, Bandra bandstand, Juhu beach, Versova beach, Aksa beach, Madh island, Gorai and Manori beach. It went on to explain that the need for such action was necessitated after the brutal rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old girl in Delhi, to ensure that women in Mumbai are safe.
“We have cautioned couples to avoid sitting at lonely spots near beaches. No action has yet been initiated,” said an officer from Malwani police station a little after the new directive. Later in the evening, reportedly following disapproval from higher authorities, the police backtracked and amended the circular to make it read that they would take action against the miscreants who harass and invade the privacy of the couples strolling along the beaches.
Ambadas Pote, spokesperson for the Mumbai police, said cops had withdrawn the earlier circular and amended it. “The miscreants who try to loot and harass couples at beaches and other places will be arrested,” said Pote, without commenting on why the police had a sudden change of heart by dusk.