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by Rehana Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:55 am
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Groups targeting couples on Valentine's Day go easy as moral policing finds few takers

Folks slow down a little when they are passing the Necklace Road as they spot couples lost in thoughts sitting on bikes, on the park benches and on the green lawns. At the other end of the city, the scene repeats itself near the Botanical Gardens. Folks who go for evening walks inside the JVR Park see the couples snuggling up and they tut-tut about 'falling moral values'. Young men riding their bikes in groups, occasionally shout at the couples.

For want of a better word, it is called moral policing. While those who have a date and can afford it, hit plush restaurants, resorts and fine diners, there are others who try to find their moments of privacy in the parks, gardens or even bus shelters. While love is the common strand for the couples, it is the ones who cosy up in public spaces who become the easy target.

But this year, it is likely to be different as most of the fundamentalist groups have lost steam. Unlike earlier, there are no threatening anti-love posters outside coffee shops, religious places, parks and bus shelters. A few days ago, about seven couples were caught and punished on the spot by police near Golconda. The girls were made to do sit ups while the boys were made to hold each other's ears and do the sit-ups.

But this seems to be an aberration as an inquiry has been ordered into the incident.

"We will be doing additional patrolling on February 14. Usually, there are more number of couples who come here on the day," says Ramesh Kuncham, CI, Lake Police. "We are not going to take any chances. There will be more patrolling here through the day to prevent trouble. It is not just a few religious groups who are likely to create trouble, sometimes even parents create a ruckus. The boy might say no, the girl might say no and the result can be one unsavoury. We have to be on our toes the whole day," says Ramesh.

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