Woman scribe's unpleasant experience outside Lalbaugcha Raja pandal
Poonam Apraj, a 29-year-old journalist with a Marathi newspaper, who is also secretary of the Women Journalist Association, was booked and fined under section 110 of the Bombay Police Act for shooting a video at Lalbaugcha Raja on Friday night.
Residents who live in the vicinity of the Lalbaugcha Raja pandal are handed a Resident’s Pass that allows them to access a road that runs right by the pandal
Apraj, alleges that although she had a valid Resident’s Pass, she was not allowed to use the road leading to the gate of the pandal. “My uncle's home is located on that road. I showed them the pass that grants residents of the area access to the road during Ganeshotsav,” she says.
According to her, a lady constable posted outside the pandal stopped her from going ahead despite checking the pass. “I noticed that police personnel going for darshan were being allowed access. I began filming the same on my mobile phone. When the constables noticed me, they took away my phone and commotion ensued. I was manhandled by Sub Inspector Kotkar. It all happened in the presence of male and female constables,” says Apraj.
She was taken to the nearby Lalbaug police chowky. “From there, at around 1 am, they took me to Kalachowki police station, where I was kept for two hours. Later, they slapped a fine of Rs 1,200 under 110 of the Bombay Police Act. Since they had my phone, I couldn’t call anyone for help. They also deleted the video,” she recounts.
Explaining the Act, senior advocate Y P Singh said, “110 of Bombay Police Act is enforced for indecent behaviour in public. If what the journalist is alleging is true, the Act cannot be applied. Also, the police had no right to confiscate her phone or delete the video."
When Sunday mid-day contacted DCP (Zone IV) Ashok Dudhe, he said, “We will look into the matter.”