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Plain high-handedness

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Governance

First they were arrested for the mere offence of partying in a farmhouse and put in jail. Then they were accused of consuming drugs without any trace of evidence. But their woes did not end there. Even though 58 of the 101 persons were granted bail on Monday, they could not walk out of the jail due to procedural issues. So two nights in a row in the jail house for the sin of wanting to dance and, maybe, drink in a city that doesn’t know the meaning of ‘fun’ anymore.
    
Though the police failed to recover any drugs from the farmhouse, the police on Monday — much like on Sunday — continued to maintain it was indeed a rave party. The blood-samples results of the arrested are yet to come from the Forensic Science Laboratory.
    
The police had raided party being hosted at a farmhouse called ‘Padma Thota’ near Big Banyan tree in Chunchanakuppe near Tavarekere in the early hours of Sunday. The farm is owned by Ramakrishnaiah, who had been private secretary to Siddaramaiah, when he was deputy chief minister. The police raided the place after receiving complaints from the locals and the beat police about the party. Though the police could not find any drugs at the party, they seized liquor, sound and music systems along with several vehicles.
    
ANY ANSWERS?
1) If the farmhouse was rented out for party with the owner collecting stipulated fee from every participant, why was the owner, who violated the law by indulging in a commercial activity, not arrested?
2) Do authorities suggest no private party can be held at all in Bangalore and its vicinity?
3) Why call it the farmhouse party a rave when drugs were not found?
4) Why arrest those who attended the party instead of shutting down the party and sending people home, as used to be the norm earlier whenever there were complaints about noisy parties?
5) What is the definition of ‘scantily’ dressed? Are short skirts and spaghetti straps indecent? If so, how are these, and far more, being allowed in Kannada movies? Why is women’s clothing such a big issue these days when serious violations against women go unnoticed and unchecked?
6) Innocent until proven guilty has become guilty until proven innocent; isn’t that a travesty of the judicial system?


For the full report, click on:
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=TOI&BaseHref=TOIBG/2009/03/10&PageLabel=1&EntityId=Ar00100&ViewMode=HTML&GZ=T


Police action smacks of moral policing
Moral policing was visible once again in Karnataka — and this time, it was the cops who were indulging in it — as over the 100 young partygoers in Bangalore suffered the mortification of spending a night in police custody.
    
In a fresh blow to India’s claims to being a liberal democracy, these revellers were subjected on Sunday to blood and urine tests even after the police had not found a trace of narcotic drugs or any other evidence of drug consumption at the venue.
    
The attempt to nail them on the charge of obscenity smacks of highhandedness. For Sec 294 IPC, which imposes imprisonment up to three months, applies only when somebody “does any obscene act in any public place” or “sings, recites or utters any obscene songs, ballad or words, in or near any public place.”
    
Even if those partygoers are found to have rented the farmhouse, it is debatable whether the party falls into the category of a public place. The police can’t barge into a private party and haul up people.
    
The police rounded up all party-goers under Section 36 of the Karnataka Excise Act dealing with illegal sale of liquor. Though the charge of illegal sale can normally be made only against the organizer or host, the police arrested guests as well on the ground that it was a contributory party where all of them had paid for the liquor.


For the full report on that, click on:
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=TOI&BaseHref=TOIBG/2009/03/10&PageLabel=1&EntityId=Ar00107&ViewMode=HTML&GZ=T

Further, according to a relative, the whole raid episode is a political conspiracy. Though he was not willing to divulge more information about it, he says the raid was conducted not just for the nuisance factor but to settle scores. He had spent the entire day in front of prison coordinating with the lawyers for his friends’ bail.
    
For the full report on that, click on:
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=TOI&BaseHref=TOIBG/2009/03/10&PageLabel=4&EntityId=Ar00401&ViewMode=HTML&GZ=T

 

Excise laws prone to abuse
Excise laws are prone to abuse as they fix unrealistically low limits on the amount of liquor that can be stored at home (no more than four bottles, for instance, under the Uttar Pradesh law). If somebody is throwing a party at home, he has to get permission from the excise department. Though all accused got bail on Monday, they remain under the threat of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. If the blood test turns out to be positive in the case of any of them, the police will then be empowered to book such persons under section 27 of NDPS Act. Those found to have consumed cocaine, morphine or heroin are liable to face a maximum penalty of one year jail and those found to have consumed milder drugs can be imprisoned up to six months.

 

For that report, click on:
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=TOI&BaseHref=TOIBG/2009/03/10&PageLabel=4&EntityId=Ar00409&ViewMode=HTML&GZ=T

 

WHY OWNER NOT ARRESTED?
The lingering question on every one’s mind is: Why are the farmhouse owners not arrested? Is it political clout as the owner Ramakrishnaiah was the private secretary of the then deputy chief minister Siddaramaiah? All that the police said was if they found that the farmhouse was rented for commercial purposes with the knowledge of Ramakrishnaiah, then they would initiate action against him. Ramakrishnaiah’s son reportedly had rented it out for the party organizers. But what is puzzling is that if it was a commercial party, how did the owners rent it out? Or did they not know about this?


For that report, click on:
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=TOI&BaseHref=TOIBG/2009/03/11&PageLabel=1&EntityId=Ar00101&ViewMode=HTML&GZ=T

The Siddaramaiah connection gives credence to the theory of political conspiracy mentioned by one of the relatives. If true, in the pursuit of their political games, did the rivals have to choose this route, in the process, jeopardising the lives of 100 odd youth who were only upto some harmless fun? Also, this provides another very good reason why policing has to be distanced from the ruling party as recommended by the Soli Sorabjee committee, on the implementation of which the state government has been dragging its feet - check:   http://bangalore.praja.in/blog/murali772/2008/10/30/police-accountability-authority  

The above apart, we are governed by so many rules, many of them handed down from the Britisher's times and having no relevance whatsoever in today's world. All the same, they have remained in the statute, and can be pulled out whenever the government/ police wants to nail somebody for whatever reasons. The police, under the present BJP government, by its own acts of commissions and ommissions, is seen to be more prone to mis-use of the laws than their proper and effective use to bring about societal harmony.

Very much like a person has responded in the Home Minister's blog on the subject, "police should be spending their resources in preventing bigger crimes like theft, robbery, homicides, crime against women, rather than spending their energy on these petty issues and acquiring much-wanted spotlight from the media. Those people are hardworking taxpayers and students who wanted to have a good time. If anyone should be really worried about their doings, it is their parents".

Even with being a BJP sympathiser, I am beginning to get the jitters as to where they are taking the state, and where they will take the country if they come to power at the centre. Kandhamal has been the party's undoing in Orissa. The state government needs to do a lot more if Mangalore/ Bangalore is not to become its undoing in the Karnataka.

Muralidhar Rao
 

Comments

murali772's picture

On the contrary

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A family of four was beaten up on Monday night while they were driving on New BEL Road. The incident happened in front of traffic constables who refused to intervene despite pleas.

The incident took place at around 9.15 pm when Vikas Vasudev was going out for dinner with his parents and brother. A car menacingly tried to overtake Vikas’ car and scraped it. When Vikas stopped his car to ask what the problem was, five or six people — all allegedly drunk — got off from the other car and began beating him up. When his brother and parents rushed to his rescue, even they were thrashed. “They did not even spare my mother,” Vikas told TOI.

For the full report, click on:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Family-beaten-up-police-just-look-on/articleshow/4251743.cms

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
roshanrk's picture

 This is plain insane. The

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 This is plain insane. The cops have such misplace priorities!! They haulded students to police station for playing Holi in the streets yesterday!! According to them, since playing holi is public entertainments, one needs a license to celebrate Holi! Also, the cops threw in the charge that the boys were "touching girls" and hence taken into custody!
http://www.bangaloremirror.com/index.aspx?page=article&sectid=1&contentid=200903122009031202325569dd98cfa0&sectxslt=

Can it get more absurd than this? Where are we heading if we need get license to celebrate a festival? And the 'touching girl' charge is laughable! These guys should be put into the family plannig or population control departments, they'd be quite effective there!

When women are actually abused and beaten up in the streets of Bangalore, our commissioner says that Bangalore is safe city! This, when the women did file complaints. Our Home Minister says that these aren't things that the Home Minister should be dealing with! And now, when boys and girls were having fun celebrating a festival, where no woman filed any complaint, the cops were over ethusiastic to arrest innocent people.

What is our commissioner doing? Does he know how his men behave? Shouldn't the cops be out fighting real crime? I shudder to think where Bangalore is heading to as a city!
blrpraj's picture

what is a rave party?

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The terminology "rave party" has aroused my curiousity after reading this thread, What exactly to they(law enforcement) mean by a "rave party"?  Murali has indeed raised valid questions/concerns in this thread.

The participants should undoubtedly be punished if they were dealing with drugs or other illegal activities like flesh trade etc. under the guise of a party provided there was ample evidence to substantiate that. Of course, action is also warranted if the party was noisy causing disturbance to neighbours. I just hope this is not a case of moral policing by the police of all people (In my opinion the police has more important things to do..bigger fish to fry..and definitely it is nobody's business to be telling other people what to do morally).

Obviously this is a case of misplaced priorities by the law enforcement and goverment; but, I think is it also because the folks hauled up in this incident are perceived to be feeble and no threat to them(law enforcement and political establishment)...whereas..contrast this with cases of recent incidents by Ram Sene where those people in Mangalore easily got off on bail for something far worse..basically a premeditated crime..looks like the political establishment and law enforcement are afraid to lay even a finger on those goons. Looks like all we can do is watch Bangalore getting flushed down the toilet.
blrpraj's picture

this takes the cake

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I found the following bolded line amusing -

The police say they acted on a tip-off and that the party was in violation of more than one law. They also say that the partygoers were dancing obscenely.

The above was pulled from http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20090086334

Now, this is one of the silliest things I have seen. If dancing obscenely was a crime then all the film prodicers directors, actors and actresses need to be arrested since 99% of movies have at least 1 obscene dance (of course depending on individual perception of what obscene is..but I guess you guys get the general picture).
srinidhi's picture

just reports from news papers..

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All this takes prominence because of recent mangalore attacks and news papers like masala etc..however

1. Any one been to Manchanbele, where this is supposed to have happened? Its a nice beautiful village with a dramatic..yes..awesome view of the manchanbele reservoir built on arkavathi..suggest you all to go there over the weekend

2. Does anyone know who lives around there? Very poor hard working people who hardly have ways and means to live a life!
When Priety Zinta partied for her birthday late at night few weeks ago..her neighbours complained about it and cops warned her too..why is that seen in a different light than this?

There are legal ways and places to have 'fun'..every one there was very aware of what those are..still they preferred to go to a illegal place to do what ever they wanted to do..isnt that wrong?

I accept the cops were not right in the way they handled this..however not everything that happened was filled with innocence!

Outdated IPC

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The Indian Penal Code is more than 150 years old. Belgium reviews its entire laws once every 10 years while we are still stuck to victorian era laws.

With due respect, the police do not apprehend traffic violators, but party goers are easy target.

It is the fundamental right of a person or a group of people to assemble for a common cause be it a party or a protest.  
s_yajaman's picture

Cops warning vs. arrest - very different

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Srinidhi,

When Preity Zinta had a party and the neighbours complained, the cops came around and WARNED them.  They did not drag them away to a police station and keep them in lock up for 3 days.  this is perfectly justified.  In fact if the cops did not warn them, it would be a case of the rich and powerful getting away.

the Bangalore police on the other hand wants to usher in some era of orthodoxy into Bangalore. 

Personally, I do not like the drinking and dancing scene, but that cannot be a justification for this sort of police state that is being put in place.  Did they have a warrant to go and raid a private property?  Can they tomorrow raid your house in the middle of the night because your friends and you are playing music and dancing?  Can they stop my wife and me tomorrow on the road and ask for our marriage certificates.  This is becoming a bit like Saudi Arabia and Malaysia (where they have a Ministry of Virtue and Vice!).

Srivathsa

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

roshanrk's picture

 Srinidhi, what was illegal

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 Srinidhi, what was illegal about that place? I'd like to know why you believe a farmhouse is an illegal place? It was a farmhouse, somebody organised a party and a few went for the party. Now, it's a different question if the organisers actually applied for relevant licences and permission to organise a party where they were charging people for entry. Otherwise, if it was a private party with no entry fee, it's all within the legal purview to call my friends and have some fun with them. And yes, it might involve alcohol consumption!

If the organiser were callous in following the law, why were the people who went there arrested? Cops haven't found any evidence of drugs in the house. As per Bangalore mirror investigation, they've found a few bottles of Beer and 3-4 bottles of Vodka. When drinking alcohol become a crime?

Preity Zinta was WARNED. Here around 100 odd people out to celebrate their friends Birthday had to spend 2-3 days in jail! That's why it's being seen differently. As per the recent ammendments to Cr PC, police cannot just arrest people who have been charged with crimes involving punishment for less than 7 years! What the cops did was illegal and high handedness and misuse of power. I'd really hope that these 100 odd folks actuall file complaints of wrongful detention against the police and get the required compensation. And I hope that the individual cops along with the department pay up. Even the police needs to realize that they are not above the law and that they cannot misuse their power!

Cops say obscenly dressed. From the pictures in the papers and television, I don't think any girl or guy there was dressed any differently than what you see everyday on Bangalore streets. Then they say obscene dance! That's laughable. But if we do think about it, even if there were people dancing, it was done away from public glare. They weren't dancing 'obscenly' in public that people would have issues with it. Did anybody from the party complaint to the cops that the dance was obscene? If they received no complaints of obscenity, who are tthey to decide what happens in a private property? Why are they dictating who we dance with, what we drink, where we drink, what we wear, what music we listen to when, who we sleep with who we don't.

I hope the cops are hauled to the courts for wrongful detention, mental agony and hope that they are fined heavily by the courts! This election, I know which party not to vote for now!
srinidhi's picture

What do we know of the truth?

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All we hear is from what the news papers say..that too from papers which patronize such events and run a page3 every day!

As I ended my earlier post..the police may not be correct in the way they approached this!

However, if it were to be really a legal gathering there would be a 100+ court cases about the police atrocities already lodged!
if it were to be legal..why did they all cover their faces as they came out of the jail?

And again why I say about the place is because that is not Bangalore..peaceful vilagers live there growing coronations and other flowers..It was a sunny afternoon in 2001 when I went to drink water at one vilagers house and they were such nice people that they offered me food since it was noon and they knew it would take 2 hours for me to reach bangalore!

So parties like these would be like running a freak show in a temple..would anyone encourge that?

Anyways I would not want to post on this topic anymore!

Their view of morality

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Policemen are not know to be very educated. They would hardly be aware of the provisions of law. For example, the Karnataka Excise Act allows one to store 18 litres of beer and 9 litres of whiskey without a license, provided one preserves the receipt for it.

Considering this, the police cannot even consider the possession of beer a crime, which they did in case of the rave party.

It is not just the double whammy that our laws are pathetically outdated, but the law enforcers think of themselves as masters and the rest of the public as slaves.

Government work is god's work in India indeed!

Atleast now i'd want to be an atheist! 
roshanrk's picture

Srinidhi, what we know is

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Srinidhi, what we know is ofcourse from the media. When actual rave parties do happen, they report it as such and don't create a hue and cry. But it's their duty to raise an issue when the state and the police are misusing their powers.

It's  great that you have a lot of respect for the villagers there. And all of us should. But the party wasn't something which was in public in all the villagers views so that they were uncomfortable. It was in a private home. Village or not, police cannot barge into my home and arrest people from there.  If you were arrested and hauled into jail like petty criminals, would you want to show the whole world your face?

What I can say is that there needs to be acomplete overhaul of our penal code and the state needs to bring in comprehensive police reforms in the true sense and spirit of the supreme court directive.
murali772's picture

we certainly can do without sermonising!

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Srinidhi avare'

I have been to Menchinabele. Yes, it's a very picturesque place. In fact, I have as the screen-saver on my comp, a picture I had taken of the lake there. And, very much as you say, the locals there must extremely nice folk too. But, what's that got to do with what we are talking about here?

Now, if a group of people decides to picnic at this place (or even party by the moon-light), would it amount to desecration of the place? What would indeed amount to desecration, in my opinion, is if they leave behind a lot of litter, broken bottles, etc, which indeed is what is happening, and not just in Menchinabele, but in each and every tourist spot in the state, as well as the country. And, there are quite a few groups in Bangalore who go out to these places periodically to do a clean up. If you indeed have serious concerns regarding these aspects, perhaps you should be joining these groups, rather than just sermonising.  

And, why talk about Priety Zinta? I am part of a group, which meets every six weeks in our houses by turn, and there indeed is a bit of flow of beer and liquor, but all within limits, particularly considering the age group we are in. And, we do make a bit of a noise too, about which we generally keep neighbours informed, in advance. There have been the odd times when the police had showed up and asked us to quieten down, which we have readily compiled with. Whatever, at no time have the cops ever gone beyond cautioning us.

Now, under this new "police raaj", however, I expect, we will instead have to sit and sing bhajans!

And, some of the people in my group do indeed come on page 3 of TOI, once in a while. And, not just page 3, they come on other pages too - more specifically the commerce page. Does that make them any less qualified to comment on civic issues? Also, TOI, as well as all the other newspapers, are required to follow certain codes, failing which they can land themselves into trouble too. So, it's not as if what they are publishing is just some fiction. Please get your perspectives right.

Edited for content.  Needless comment!

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

what the state needs to do

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The suo moto action by the DGP is indeed welcome. But, I don't know what there's to probe!

The following is perhaps what the state needs to do if it has to redeem its standing before the people.

1) All the cases withdrawn, including the ones against the relatives who came to pick up the victims at the time of release from prison.
2) All the personal belongings, including vehicles, returned immediately, along with payment of monetary compensation at double the costs for missing/ damaged items.
3) Compensation of a minimum Rs 5 lakhs per person for physical discomfort and mental agony suffered, along with an apology letter signed personally by the Chief Minister.
4) This amount to be raised to a minimum of Rs 10 lakhs in the case of the Asthma patient.
5) And, a large part of these costs to be set of against one year's salary each in the case of the Tavarakere SHO, Ramnagaram SP, and six months' salary each in the case of Parappana Agrahara jail Superintendent, IGP Central, and the DGP himself.
6) Removal of Sri B V Acharya from the ministry.

Only then will it become clear to one and all as to what policing and governance are all about.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
blrpraj's picture

what is a legal party?

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In my opinion it is common sense that a party in which -> there are no drugs, no violence of any kind, no prostitution, alcohol within prescribed limits, there is no illegal parking on the road incoveniencing neighbours(then of course police can tow away improperly parked vehicles)  - can be considered a legal party ..of course this is not a comprehensive list but one gets the picture.

If the participants sing bhajans loudly with deafening devotional music, OR have a noisy party, OR if some spiritual discourse is going with blaring loudspeakers with illegally parked cars outside......there is absolutely no difference in these cases (of course one difference is that there are drunk drivers likely to come out of a party..but that problem is totally different and the solution for that is jail time without any possibility of bail)

If the participants do any of the above activities (party, discourse, bhajan) quitely then who would have a problem about what happens within the 4 walls of that property?

There are 3 places I dread to live near -> 1) noisy party animal neighbours; 2) a mechanic's shop  3) place of worship (most dreadful because it used to wake me up at 5.00am ..in my opinion loud enought to wake up a corpse).  Given a choice I would prefer option 1 since a party cannot last 7 days a week 365 days a year.

My point of this post, like I said before, the police has bigger fish to fry, the problem is they don't fry the bigger fish because they are afraid of getting burnt. Hence they pickup the small harmless variery for some cheap publicity. I guess the government hasn't heard of Uniform Civil Code and that will remain a distant dream. It has been ordered by the supreme court long before that loudspeakers should be turned off during the nights..but nobody complies..what is the police doing about that disturbance?
murali772's picture

seeking redressal at the High Court

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I have since spoken to a senior public-spirited lawyer, who is prepared to examine taking the matter to the High Court for suitable redressal. If anyone knows or has access to any of the victims, please ask them to contact me on murali772@gmaildotcom.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
psaram42's picture

A lot of turmoil and uncertainty

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 A probe has been ordered in to the whole incident. The law minister is inexperienced and new to the job. Moral Policing and taking the law in to own hands both by the Police is the order of the day. Some times Police in action is possible. These are the days of turmoil and uncertainty.

PSA
jennypinto's picture

the subjective descriptions

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the subjective descriptions of what is considered illegal and unacceptible by some people in this thread is laughable. our places of worship, be it temples, churches or mosques are one of the noisiest, dirtiest places in the country, but its not a problem because its religion. during certain major religous festivals and yatras, the mood is as celebratory,and there's a lot of dancing and comsuming of substances that are "illegal" and even nudity, but hey, its religion, so its OK??! likewise we inflict the most horrible violence in the name of religion.and thats ok too. its time we indians stop being hypocritical and self-righteous, and give people some space and freedom to celebrate !
lightness of being
idontspam's picture

Dangerous and unethical

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The greatest danger to society comes from indiscipline on the streets, our lack of concern for pedestrians and other drivers, our inability to respect and follow traffic rules. We verbally assault, physically fight and use our vehicles to maim or kill people on the streets. What could be more harmful to society and mankind?

jennypinto's picture

yardstick of our maturity as a society

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completely agree with you IDS i always feel that a true measure of the maturity of a society is its public behaviour on streets, as drivers and pedestrians. and as a country we are right down at the bottom of the heap in terms of civility, cleanliness, manners, concern for fellow beings etc!! i have seen drivers, all sorts, bus, auto, car,actually SPEED up to pedestrians,even senior citizen and children, trying to cross the road. enjoying seeing them jump out of the way or run accross in terror . almost like that "power" they experience is the measure fo their manhood!! bangalore has one of the highest traffic related deaths in the country and india one of the highest in the world!
lightness of being
murali772's picture

Cops at it again

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The following is the "times view" on the recent Mumbai "rave party" incident (for the full report, click here):

This paper has repeatedly written against outdated laws that appear to have been kept alive solely for the purpose of giving the police and other enforcement agencies licence to harass citizens and extort money from them. The vindictive decision of some officer in the police to charge guests at the party in Juhu under a 63-year-old law amounts to harassment. Under this ridiculous law (Bombay Prohibition Act 1949), you can be jailed and/or fined if you’ve had even a drop of liquor at a restaurant or at home without a ‘permit’. While this paper does not support drinking, the fact is, countless decent, law-abiding citizens drink—and rightfully so—without this stupid permit. But every now and then, the police selectively revive this regressive Act to accuse people of a crime. This is nothing short of state-sponsored persecution.

One wonders how long more the city will tolerate this.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

Vasant Dhoble, ACP - Mumbai Taliban

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How a cop ruined a 19-yr old girls life, labelling her a prostitute - here.

Well, Mumbai civil society finally seems to be waking up to the menace going by the reports in the media. Holds lessons for the Civil Society in Bangalore and other cities and towns too.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

To err is human; to apologise is divine

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A regional news channel reporter and a photo journalist, who had gone to the court to cover the developments, were allegedly assaulted by Parappana Agrahara police inspector Lakshminarayana. Lakshminarayana, however, apologised to them later, the photo journalist said. According to him, the inspector was in tension as he was scolded by the ACP as he was not on spot when Reddy arrived.

For the full report in the New Indian Express, click here.

Amidst all the talk of high-handedness so far, here is an example of a refreshing approach by Mr Lakshminarayana. Are we seeings the beginnings of a change in the overall outlook? I would like to believe so.

Muralidhar Rao

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