MUMBAI POLICE The problem with the Mumbai police’s crusade is two fold — invoking morality and also the tactics that have been used.

No right thinking citizen will mind it if the policemen of their city take steps to keep the city secure. When the Mumbai police launched its campaign against drunken driving, with some very severe penalties including jail, it received full support. But when the police does things such as casting aspersions on the morality of women drinking in bars, round up everyone at a party on suspicion of ingesting drugs, etc., it is not just a mistake, it smacks of overzealousness. The problem with the Mumbai police’s crusade is two fold — invoking morality and also the tactics that have been used. It is being called moral policing only because the cops and their bosses have brought it into the debate.

Moreover, if the police are so particular that every letter of the law, however archaic, be followed, then their officers and constables have to be equally careful they do not break any aspect of the law. I don’t think an intimidating hockey stick is part of a cop’s regular uniform. Nor do the rules say anywhere that every patron at a bar that may or may not have all the permissions be videographed. The writer seems to be outraged by celebrities and their lifestyle — I do not see how that is germane to the issue. Anyone who breaks the law must be held accountable. Any city needs a nightlife, but nightclubs in residential areas can be disturbing — then the zoning laws must be changed. I am surprised a connection has been established between people drinking without a permit and the crime graph of the city. Indeed, if the cops could just take time off from lecturing people on morals or haul every party goer to the police station, they could work on catching criminals.

(Sidharth Bhatia is a Mumbai-based writer and journalist and author of Cinema Modern: The Navketan Story, HarperCollins, 2012.)

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