Sunday, September 21, 2014

Moral police, cops lay siege to Greater Noida park // Urinating in public is OK, kissing is against our culture

GREATER NOIDA: You could call this park jihad. Lovers, students (not necessarily in love), office colleagues (again, not necessarily romantically inclined) and a whole host of other people visit Greater Noida's City Park every day. But some women of Greater Noida decided on Saturday that enough was enough. And they had the full backing of the city police. How could lovers roam freely in the park, hand in hand, or snuggle up to each other behind convenient bushes? How utterly shameful!#BeingIndian: We thought this makes a lot of sense!
So, this bunch of women under the banner of Mahila Shakti Samajik Samiti, decided it was time for a jihad on love - or at least any public display of it - at the park. After all, children too visit the park, and imagine what impression the sight of these couples cosying up would have on their impressionable minds! On Saturday evening, 10 Samiti members flanked by four women cops armed with lathis, landed at the park, and what they saw they found revolting. Boys and girls, men and women, happy couples. Unbearable! "Do you not have any other place to show affection? Do your parents know about your whereabouts? What if anything wrong happens in the park?" the Samiti women charged. 

Some couples realized fleeing was the best option; others, too stunned to respond, had to listen to lectures on moral degradation. You have to give the Samiti full marks for its zeal and its unfailing conviction in moral values that may be a century or more out of date. The couples were warned that they will be booked by the city police and their parents will be informed if they are found in the park again.

Samarjeet Singh, SHO, Kasana, said the exercise was to ensure "our young children have moral values". "We do not disturb couples visiting the park. But some local residents had complained that young couples show public display of affection in the park which makes children and the elderly uncomfortable. The idea was to tell them to help maintain a healthy environment in the park," Singh said.

Most of the couples were students of colleges and universities in Greater Noida's Knowledge Park. "There is only one mall in the area and one park. We came here to spend some time but that was foiled," said a couple. Another couple, students of a leading university in Greater Noida, said, "You won't believe, but we had come here to study as our university library remains closed on weekends." Among those raided were also employees of a real estate company. "We are just colleagues. After office hours we came here to discuss some issues but were caught in the raid," said Vivek Kumar. 

But Samiti workers said the park was getting a bad name because of "the indecent activities of couples". Rupa Gupta, president of the Samiti, said this is the only park in the entire area where children with their parents and grandparents come for morning and evening walks. "Before conducting the surprise visit we had conducted a recce in the park and found young couples indulging in indecent activities. This was creating a bad impression," Gupta said. But park supervisor Pushpendra Kumar said no one had ever complained about anything before. "We are also stunned by the surprise raid," he said. The Samiti is a group of 200 local women working for women's empowerment in the city. They have said the drive will continue.