Faced with accusations of moral policing, especially on social media, the Mumbai police plan to speed up the inquiry into the rounding up and fining of couples for “indecent behavior” in the Dana Pani beach area by cops from Malwani on August 7. Most of the ire was directed at the police for hauling in couples from a registered hotel nearby and not just from the beach.
Senior officers admitted fining the couples was wrong and that the enquiry, which will be completed in the next three to four days, will establish who was responsible by taking the statements of the couples, the police personnel involved in the raid and the hotel staff and owner. CCTV footage of the hotel will also be checked, police sources said.
On August 7, 64 people, including 13 couples, were rounded up from around the Dana Pani beach and collectively fined Rs76,800 by the Malwani police. After police commissioner Rakesh Maria ordered an enquiry into the incident on Sunday, a preliminary report, along with the action plan of the enquiry, was shown to senior officers on Monday.
The hotel, located a few metres away from the Dana Pani beach, is a part of the Indian Hotels and Restaurants Association (AHAR). While its owner refused to comment on the matter, Adarsh Shetty, president, AHAR, said, “We always ensure we allow entry only to adults, after a proper check by asking for their photo identification and getting their addresses. The policemen regularly visit the hotel to check the register, with which we cooperate. Our problem is not with the regular checks, but with the way they police went about it and humiliated the guests.”
The police have maintained the raid was necessary, and was conducted after regular complaints by local residents.
Many establishments in the area are notorious for allowing commercial sex workers to operate, said local residents who did not want to be named. The Malwani police also registered a rape case recently, where the accused allegedly took the woman to the hotel they raided and raped her, said an officer.
“There were enough reasons for us to raid the hotels because of complaints from locals. However, the 13 couples who were charged for indecent behaviour were picked up from the beach,” said a police officer.