Actress Hema Malini receives an award from Satyapal Singh in Mumbai. (File picture)
Mumbai, Aug. 27: Mumbai police chief Satyapal Singh today touched quite a few raw nerves when he claimed moral policing was necessary for the “betterment of society” and blamed “promiscuous culture” for rising cases of sexual assaults on women.
His comments, which came in the backdrop of last week’s gang rape of a photojournalist, triggered immediate reactions on cyber world. One tweet said what Singh’s force needed was an “Agent Provocateur”.
The commissioner, who was replying to live questions on TV from viewers, called for striking a “balance” if cases of sexual assault against women were to be curbed.
“On the one hand you want to have a promiscuous culture and, on the other hand, you want a safe and secure environment for the people,” he said. “I think we have to strike a balance as to what kind of culture and society we want. We ourselves are confused.”
Asked whether moral policing by cops was correct, Singh retorted with a question. “Should couples be allowed to kiss in public...?” he asked. “Should they be allowed to indulge in … obscene things?”
The context was repeated crackdowns by police on lovers seeking a private moment at public places like Bandra Bandstand and Marine Drive, and controversial raids on bars, pubs and hotels by assistant commissioner of police Vasant Dhoble.
Civic authorities, too, had tried to ban display of mannequins in lingerie on the ground that it could contribute to crimes against women.
When a viewer confronted the police chief with statistics on rising cases of rape, Singh said moral policing was ultimately aimed at the “betterment” of the society. “Should we do moral policing or immoral policing? I think the choice is yours. If we are doing moral policing, it is for the betterment of society,” he said.
The comments came a day after Mumbai police earned praise for cracking the gang rape case in 72 hours, arresting all the five suspects.
Outraged Netizens soon ripped into Singh. “Dear Satyapal Singh: people have right to sleep with whoever they want. Police have duty to catch ppl who force themselves on others #clear” tweeted user @JayHind.
“What Satyapal Singh needs in his force is an agent named Agent Provocateur..” tweeted user @schmmuck.