Top cop Satyapal Singh attracts public ire for his comments during TV interview

Aug 28, 2013, 14:56 IST | A Correspondent

If you thought the khap panchayat's views were regressive and bordering on ridiculous, police commissioner Satyapal Singh is here to give them tough competition

Just days after the horrific the gang rape of a 22-year-old photojournalist, Mumbai’s Commissioner of Police Satyapal Singh yesterday took questions from the public on a news channel.

Mumbai's Commissioner of Police Satyapal Singh
Pic/Satyajit Desai

During the 51-minute long conversation, Singh fronted several questions from several people about the safety of women and the increasing incidence of crime against women.

Mumbai's Commissioner of Police Satyapal Singh

It was during this conversation, that the CP once again committed a faux pax, when he justified moral policing and also apportioned blame on the ‘promiscuous culture’. This is what he had to say:

(Excerpts from the conversation)
A reader asks: Why is dancing in pubs and couples kissing in parks being stopped, but not rape?
Satyapal Singh: Should we do moral policing or immoral policing? The choice is yours. If we are doing moral policing, it is for the betterment of society. I think we have to strike a balance as to what kind of culture and society we want. We ourselves are confused. On one hand we want a culture of boyfriends and girlfriends kissing, and then on the other side we want a safer environment. Should we allow couples to kiss in public... should they be allowed to indulge in obscenity? We have to strike a balance. On the one hand you want to have a promiscuous culture and on the other hand you want a safe and secure environment for the people.

Another reader then asks: Will legalising prostitution help in curbing crimes against women?
Satyapal Singh: Many countries in the world have legalised prostitution but that doesn’t mean that crimes against women have stopped. Today you want to legalise prostitution, tomorrow you will want to legalise rape and murders. We have to stop somewhere.

Not the top cop’s first faux pas
On July 5, during a panel discussion at NCPA, following a play dealing with women’s rights, Dr Satyapal Singh endorsed Raavan as a model of masculine etiquette, who set the benchmark for chivalry when he abstained from touching Sita after abducting her. Espousing Raavan as the standard of male conduct, he said, “Ramayan mein Raavan jab Sita ko utha kar Lanka le gaye, tab bhi unhone Sita ko haath tak nahi lagaya. That is the greatness of Indian culture, this is what we should learn from Raavan.”

On January 14, at a discussion on women’s safety organised by Loksatta, Satyapal Singh said, “Sex education needs to be carefully thought out. Look at America. It has sex education as part of its curriculum, but students are simply being taught how to have intercourse,” adding “According to a survey, rape is more common than smoking there. Countries with sex education in their curriculum only have an increased number of crimes against women.”

On January 5, at an event hosted by the Bharat Merchants Chamber, he said, “Hamare schools aur colleges mein jo shiksha di jaati hai woh sanskarheen shiksha dee jaati hai (the education imparted in our schools and colleges is devoid of values).” Not stopping at that, he further added, “Whatever happened in the other states or in our city, I find in them an absence of values. An uneducated man doesn’t commit suicide: this means that education is causing problems. We are imparting such lessons that people have started committing suicide. A majority of those who commit suicide are English-educated learned people.”

Instead of adding to the problems, the commissioner should come out with solutions. I am of the belief that every Indian has the constitutional right to follow what they believe in, but those who are supposed to implement the rule need not sit and judge people, but should implement the law. What has come out of this rape is that all the accused are history-sheeters and career criminals. Criminals frequented the area and the commissioner should have secured the place. What did the police do; they waited for the crime to happen and then held a press conference
-- Smriti Irani, BJP leader

He [Satyapal] has 20 men to protect him; he has got the mentality of the khap panchyat; he is the guardian of the city, and he shouldn’t be moral policing. He should be undergoing a counselling session, because it seems that he isn't in sync with the changing culture
-- Nandini Sardesai, Sociologist

The statement by the commissioner is regressive and the chauvinistic attitude of the authority needs to be addressed. The commissioner's job is to protect, not abuse the rape victim, by making such absurd comments
-- Vishal Dadlani, Music composer

As a police chief M. Singh should ensure the safety of the citizens in the city rather than concentrating on the fact that we are drifting towards western culture. By walking hand in hand, we are definitely not inviting rape or hooligans to come and threaten us.
-- Saipriya Iyer, Chembur

By making such statements, are the police running away from their responsibility of maintaining law and order? It’s an absurd statement
-- Harsha Chopda, College student

I don’t disagree that we are getting attracted towards a promiscuous culture. Having said that this is no excuse for not ensuring law and order. The Mumbai police are definitely doing a phenomenal job, but they surely need to update themselves.
-- Sandeep Bangia, Seawood resident

Twitterati enraged
@thecomicproject This Satyapal Singh will soon blame umbrellas for the rain.
@taoofdudeism SatyapalSingh is a disgrace. A dinosaur clinging to an ancient era. Part of the problem. Fire this #Clouseau
@abhishekmadan On one hand the Mumbai Police Chief’s body is in 2013, on the other hand his mind is in 399 BC, in the trial of Socrates.
@thetanmay “You can’t leave your house AND ALSO at the same time expect us to guarantee your safety” - What Mumbai Police Chief will say soon
@mohankapur Yeh lo, another neta in the making!
@mp256 promiscuity involves consensus between both parties - rape doesn’t
@AndrewRozara Rupee at 69 will be very promiscuous.
@RinksB No hope for the woman when they have an idiot policing Mumbai. Seriously, how stupid can you be! Women just DON’T want to be #RAPED
@SellingViolets thank you. I accept the promiscuous tag. deal with it. you’re still not doing your job. 

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