GHMC withdraws entry ban

Moral policing by GHMC officials pertaining to entry into the Indira Park has generated outrage from several people of city on Thursday.

A banner tied by the Urban Biodiversity wing officials at the entry gate of the Indira Park, prohibiting entry of unmarried couples into the park, has gone viral, earning severe backlash from netizens.

“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! This is clearly unconstitutional,” fumed Meera Sanghamitra, an activist, on Twitter.

“Couples must take their marriage certificate before entering this public park says the @GHMCOnline,” said Shameela, another Twitter user.

Some others wondered why the restrictions have been imposed now when Indira Park has been known for long as haven for consenting couples.

Officials on condition of anonymity blamed media reports which appeared on how the park had become a hotspot of “socially inappropriate behaviour”.

Children and senior citizens are uncomfortable around couples inside the park indulging in explicit sexual acts, a GHMC official said, defending the ban. Similar restrictions have been imposed in Sanjeevaiah Park too making it an exclusive park for children, he said.

After the online backlash, the corporation has retracted the restrictions, and issued a memo to an official concerned seeking explanation.

Zonal Commissioner, Secunderabad, has issued a statement online regretting the inconvenience caused by the banners. Local police have been informed to keep a vigil through regular visits to maintain serene atmosphere in the park, he posted.

The mention of police earned more ire from national level activists, with CPI(ML) polit bureau member and Secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association Kavita Krishnan seeking clarification as to whether police would be demanding to see ID cards of lovers, and young people in parks. “Will they be interfering in any way with couples cuddling in the park? That kind of moral policing is better suited to Taliban and Sangh,” she posted on Twitter.

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