Hyderabad: The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) here drew the ire of several citizens after it put up a banner stating that unmarried couples would not be allowed into the park. While officials in-charge gave the usual “indecent activity” excuse to put up the regressive banner, the diktat was taken back after the uproar which followed on Twitter.
Twitter user Sanghamitra Malik drew attention to the issue on Thursday morning. She wrote, “New low & new level of moral policing by Indira Park Mgmt in Hyd! A public park is an open space for all law abiding citizens, including consenting couples across genders. How can ‘marriage’ be criteria for entry! @GHMCOnline & @GadwalvijayaTRS this is clearly unconstitutional.”
She also pointed out that an such arbitrary rules is an “anti-working class move”, and added that most couples who frequent Indira Park belong to lower, middle income categories. “They cannot access hi-fi pubs & other costly spaces. Working class young couples have every right to access these parks. End Ridiculous Restrictions.” Malik added.
Her Twitter drew enough flak for the GHMC to quickly take back its diktat. The Secunderabad GHMC zonal commissioner responded to Malik’s tweet stating, “Banners removed by DD UBD. Inconvenience regretted. Informed local police to keep vigil by regular visits to maintain serene atmosphere in the park.”
The issue of moral policing is not new to Hyderabad as well. While couples in the city frequent parks, it may be pointed out that the police even tend to force youngsters, even if they are friends, to pay them bribes by simply intimidating them. Many activists also point out that since young lovers do not have privacy in homes, they tend to visit public parks to simply hang out, which is not illegal, nor is there any prohibition on it.