Bhopal's Nirbhaya Cops Accused of Moral Policing
By Abhinandan Mishra | Published: 24th January 2014 06:00 AM |
A mobile police unit launched by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to protect women of the state capital is gaining notoriety for targeting young love birds and indulging in moral policing.
Sub Inspector Namita Sahu, who heads the unit named Nirbhaya, said: “We patrol the areas around schools, colleges, coaching classes and women’s hostels to curb harassment of girls. Sometimes we go to a particular spot after we receive complaints. Earlier, people would stand in front of women’s colleges and pass lewd comments on the students. We don’t tolerate this.” However, on Wednesday morning, Nirbhaya cops stopped two college girls at the Shahpura lake after they were found “moving around in a suspicious condition wearing high heels, sunglasses and western dress”. The girls were let off only after Sahu spoke to their parents and the administration of their college. When contacted, DIG Srinivas Verma said the Nirbhaya unit had been asked to exercise restraint. “I’ve asked the Nirbhaya team to act more judiciously in such cases. Their mandate is to stop harassment,” he said. Last week the unit hauled up a group of boys and girls from near the lake. “My classmate and I were sitting on his bike. After some time, the Nirbhaya police unit came and scolded me for bunking classes and wasting my time with a boyfriend. My friend and I are adults and we were enjoying the weather and not doing anything obscene,” Smita (name changed), a third year B Com student of Bhopal School of Social Sciences, said.