Under fire for rounding up 64 people, including 13 couples, from hotels in and around the Dana Pani beach for indecent behaviour, police stations in the north region of Mumbai have now been instructed to stop moral policing and just do their jobs.
Officers have received strict instructions from their seniors to refrain from any moral policing. “All the 16 police stations in the region have been advised not to harass couples. Instead, they need to focus on carrying out their regular duties,” said a senior officer from the region, requesting anonymity.
The Malwani police received a lot of flak for the raid on August 7, where couples were dragged out of their rooms from a hotel and three other guesthouses around Madh. With people terming the act as infringement of privacy, Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria ordered an inquiry into the matter, which will be headed by the additional commissioner of police, north region.
Highly placed sources said neither the deputy commissioner of police nor the senior inspector of the Malwani police station was present during the raid. It was carried out by officers of the rank of assistant inspectors and sub-inspectors, sources said.
Justifying the raid, the police had claimed they were acting on complaints from residents about prostitution and rampant hooliganism in the area.
“We will be recording the statements of all the parties involved in the case. The statements of the officers, couples and the hotel staff will be taken in detail. It is necessary to ascertain if the couples who were fined were inside the hotel rooms or outside,” said a senior officer, on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Residents of Madh, however, are all praise for the Malwani police . “Prostitution has stopped since the raid. People have also stopped drinking on the beach and roads,” said a resident.