On Wednesday, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) M.N. Reddi described vigilantism as a “challenge to the State”. But in 48 hours, it has become “a minor incident”.
As soon as the officer left Mangalore, the district witnessed two cases of moral policing. Though Mr. Reddi promised prompt action against vigilantes, in at least one case the police played, if not cheerleaders, then spectators.While the police did make arrests in one case reported from Puttur, in another case the police allowed a vigilante group take away a man and a woman living together without their consent. Not even a case was registered.
Mr. Reddi had warned that vigilantism, in whatever form, would not be tolerated and that police would take action against those attempting to impose their morals on others. He clearly wanted that the groups to give information to police and leave it to the law enforcing mechanism to act.
But in Vamanjoor Thursday night, a group of Hindus and Muslims raided a house and harassed a couple.
The police said the group went to a house where a Muslim youth and a married Hindu woman were living.
The police said the man was scolded and then slapped by a member of the group. The group also admonished the woman, who was older to the man, for having an extra-marital relationship. Mangalore Rural Police went to the house and then sent way the groups and the couple.
The police said no complaint was registered. “It is a minor incident. There is no case of assault,” an officer said, and added there was a compromise between the vigilante group and the couple.
When this incident was brought to his notice, Mr. Reddi said he would ask the Police Commissioner to inquire into the incident. “In such cases it will be better if a complaint is filed. If the victim does not come forward, the police should persuade victim and get complaint registered,” Mr. Reddi said.
Police would exercise preventive measures to stop such activism. “The Constitution does not contemplate vigilantism. There will be zero tolerance against vigilantism,” he reiterated.
A senior police officer had earlier stated a compromise in a case can be through court directions and the police should book a case immediately in civil or criminal cases.
The Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) does not provide for any such compromise.