Mumbai cops start drive against porn, 20 video theatres lose licences | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Mumbai cops start drive against porn, 20 video theatres lose licences

Following an analysis of data available with the 93 police stations, Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria has ordered a crackdown on video theatres, which allegedly screen pornographic content in slum areas.

mumbai Updated: Feb 02, 2015 20:53 IST
Debasish Panigrahi

The police believe easy access to pornography is partly responsible for rise in crimes against women in slum pockets, which account for over 60% of such cases reported across Mumbai over the years.

Following an analysis of data available with the 93 police stations, police commissioner Rakesh Maria has ordered a crackdown on video theatres, which allegedly screen pornographic content in slum areas.

Till Monday, the police had already suspended the licences of 20 joints, while action is to be taken against 28 others.

“Such joints are vitiating the atmosphere in the slums. Regular exposure to explicit materials has a subliminal effect on young minds. That is precisely why I have ordered the drive,” Maria told HT on Wednesday. “Genuine video theatres will not be affected.”

Such video theatres are scattered across slum pockets, with the most being in the eastern suburbs.

This comes after show-cause notices were issued to proprietors of several joints for violating licence conditions. Sources in the theatre branch of the police, which issues the licence, said the breach of condition was found in the default reports submitted by police stations.

Over the past two decades, video theatres sprung up in lower-income group areas of the city, as video cassette players and colour TV sets could not be afforded by many. Till 10 years ago, there were 205 registered video theatres.

However, the trend changed with the emergence of cable television. “To increase their revenues, these joints started screening adult films. This soon caught on, as people living with families or in a small house did not have any privacy, despite having a TV and a cable connection,” sources said.

Mohammad Farooq Azam, an activist for rights of slum dwellers from Malwani, said such video theatres mostly engage in pornography on the pretext of screening old Hindi films. “There is no match between the posters put outside and what is actually happening inside,” he said.

Psychiatrist Dr Dayal Mirchandani, however, said it is premature to co-relate exposure to pornography and violence against women, in the absence of proper study. “There may be some who are tempted by such exposure in committing sexual violence. But it will be improper to link it only to pornography. Other social issues must be looked into,” he said.