The Mumbai Police has abandoned a misguided attempt to target couples romancing in parks and beaches, a move which was intended, bafflingly, to make the city safer.
A directive issued on January 14 on the instructions of the city's top cop, Satyapal Singh, asked the police to not only warn couples at "isolated" spots, but also to take action against if they do not clear out.
"Often when the tide is low, couples sit by the shore at tourist locations like Marine Drive, Worli, Girgaum Chowpatty, Juhu and Bandra bandstand. As these places are isolated, criminals can rob them, sexually exploit women... Therefore remove those sitting in such isolated places and take action against then," the notice said.
The revised circular issued today, says the police will increase patrolling in uncrowded places to ensure that couples aren't "targeted by anti-social elements."
"The reason behind this move is that we do not want them (couples) to face the risk of becoming victims of miscreants. It is a preventive measure," Mumbai Police spokesperson Ambadas Pote said today, before the correction was made.
The police said that it was trying to focus on safety for women after the horrific gang-rape of a medical student on a moving bus in Delhi last month.
However, though no longer now on paper, can lovers in Mumbai, with its police repeatedly accused of moral policing, really breathe easy?