Burdwan, Feb. 14: Lovebirds along the Bhagirathi chirping into the dusk or a young man trying to convince his beloved about the real reason for a missed date now have a guardian out of home to mind.
At Katwa in Burdwan, an officer is now playing moral police. The murder of a groom on the evening of his wedding reception by goons allegedly hired by a teenager ' whose proposal he had spurned ' has prompted Katwa police station officer-in-charge Madhab Mondal to spread 'awareness against affairs'.
'I was calling up my mother from a public booth to inform her that I would be late in reaching home. Suddenly the OC barged in and charged me with talking to a girl. I tried to tell him that I was speaking with my mother... He snatched the receiver and checked whether I was right,' said Samaresh Mondal, 21, a student of Katwa College.
Mondal is doing the rounds of haunts known to be favourites among young lovers ' like the bank of the Bhagirathi or the deserted stretch in front of the subdivisional officer's bungalow. In jeans and T-shirt, the officer said: 'God help a couple if I happen to see them.'
Shyamal Biswas, a resident of Kachhari Road, said: 'In my days in college and during courtship, we used to seek the solitude of the Bhagirathi. I have married the girl I loved and we are happy.' For obvious reasons, he did not approve of what the OC was up to.
Nor did additional district magistrate Vinod Kumar. 'I don't see any wrong in couples seeking a lonely place to talk their hearts out. The administration should not poke its nose into something that is very personal. If a couple feels harassed, they should approach me,' he said.
Mondal, who pens lyrics during leisure ' district police chief Neeraj Singh sang some of the songs written by him to raise money for tsunami victims ' also walks into schools during recess or after class. He gives a lecture on the ills of falling in love at a tender age and gives his mobile number to the girl students asking them to call him up if boys disturb them.
Debashis Sarkar's murder outside the venue of his wedding reception on January 23 convinced Mondal that affairs are no good.
Sumana Dutta, a Class VIII student of Durgadasi Chowdhurani School, said: 'The OC once came to our school. He told us to inform him immediately if a boy ever harasses me.'
Instead of feeling secure, the teachers, however, are fuming. 'Such lectures can have an adverse impact on tender minds,' said Sagar Roy, the headmaster of Kashiram Das Vidayatan.
District magistrate Subrata Gupta said: 'We have received a number of complaints from various quarters regarding the OC's over-enthusiasm. The Katwa subdivisional officer has been told to take steps in this regard.'
Mondal is unperturbed. 'I think my efforts are being lauded by the public,' he said.