Mumbai– About 40 couples were arrested by Mumbai police at a number of hotels last week because they were unmarried.
The couples were said to have been dragged out of their hotel rooms and taken to a nearby police station where they were held for several hours and some were even made to call their parents.
The couples were charged with ‘indecent behaviour in public’ despite being in private hotel rooms, and made to pay a fine of 1,200 rupees (£12).
Police were conducting several raids on hotels in the Madh Island and Aksa area of Mumbai in order to crack down on prostitution in the area, but arrested nearly 100 people who were in adult consenting relationships.
Witnesses say police knocked on the doors to the hotel rooms during the Thursday afternoon raid, and arrested all couples found to be unmarried.
‘The police first insulted all of us in front of all the officers and the other couples and then forced us to call our parents and insulted and disgraced us in front of them,’ a witness said.
‘They also made the parents feel guilty as if their children had committed some heinous crime.’ He added that they were taken to the police station around 5pm and many of them were allowed to go only by 10pm.’
A number of angry Mumbai citizens took to Twitter to express their feelings, using the hashtag #MumbaiPolice.
Neeti Palta wrote: ‘Dear #MumbaiPolice, arresting consenting adults is not what they meant when they asked you to hunt down sleeper cells’
Ashwin Mushran posed the following scenario: ”We are arresting you for public indecency…’But sir, I’m in my home’… ‘Home is on a road, road is public… Chalo jail’ #MumbaiPolice’
Twitter user @Nautanki_ added: ‘1. They were adults, 2. They showed ID proofs, 3. They were in hotel rooms. How this became unlawful?? Public indecency #MumbaiPolice'(sic)
Priyashmita Guha wrote: ‘The govt wants a monopoly in screwing you. No sex. No porn. Only govt can screw you from now on.’
An inquiry into the event has been launched by Mumbai Police commissioner Rakesh Maria.
‘I have asked the additional commissioner (north region) to conduct a probe and submit a report. We have nothing to do with two consenting adults in a room,’ Maria said.