Mumbai Police chief to probe heavy-handed hotel raids that left 40 couples humiliated

After massive social media outrage over the Mumbai Police dragging 40 couples out of hotel rooms in Madh Island and Aksa, and booking them for 'indecency in public', Commissioner of Police Rakesh Maria has ordered a probe into the alleged detention by the Malwani Police.

Speaking to The Times of India, Maria said, "I have asked the additional CP to probe into this and file a report. We have nothing to do with two consensual adults in a room. But, there were a lot of complaints from members of the public about drinking, pimps and the prostitution racket in the vicinity." Police officials added that the inquiry would also focus on the procedure that had been adopted for verification of the unverified tip-off, The Indian Express reported.

The Mumbai Police has claimed that the hotels were raided after locals complained acts of "public indecency", soliciting and a drunken ruckus. The couples, however, said that they were humiliated and harassed, and Mid-Day quoted a woman saying that she was slapped by a woman constable.

 Mumbai Police chief to probe heavy-handed hotel raids that left 40 couples humiliated

Representational image. AFP

The cops decided to conduct a raid on several lodges and two-star hotels by knocking on doors, arresting couples and taking them to the police station where they were humiliated behind closed doors, for over five hours.

The report mentions that several of those picked up were college students, who were rounded up by the local police station and asked to call their parents. While some were fined Rs 1,200 for “indecent behaviour in public”, some were roughed up and even slapped by the police for refusing to pay the fine.

“There was a knock on my door at 4 pm. A hotel employee asked us to come down with our ID cards. We were taken aback, but we cooperated. Once we went down to the lobby, they (the police) made us stand in a single line in the compound and checked our IDs. We were checked at the hotel between 4 pm and 6.30 pm by various police personnel. Unhone humein bahut zaleel kiya (They humiliated us a lot),” The Indian Express quoted a 37-year-old man, who was booked by the police.

According to police sources, a special team was formed by Deputy Commissioner of Police Vikram Deshmane with four locations 'marked' for raids.

The hotel owners and managers also complained of horrible treatment of the police. "I have 48 cameras to prove what happened. They raided my hotel at 4 pm and didn’t leave until 7 pm. My guests were humiliated. They were asked to come to the compound, and then questioned for hours as if they were terrorists. The officers never identified themselves, they just told me that the DCP had ordered them to do so. We don’t know which rules we violated," Harish Shetty, owner of Mantara Residency, told NDTV.

Merely a month ago, several officers of the Malwani Police were suspended for allowing a spurious liquor racket to flourish in itsjurisdiction, which led to the death of more than 100 people.

A 19-year-old girl, who questioned the draconian raid, told Mid-Day on Sunday, "Do we have freedom as citizens of India? How can you fine and demean us and intrude into our privacy? If you want to take legal action, fine the hotels or lodges if any of them allow immoral activities like prostitution to go on in their premises. Making love to the person of my choice in a private room doesn’t amount to indecent behaviour in public. You can’t just harass us because a DCP orders a raid."

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Updated Date: Aug 10, 2015 10:56:37 IST

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