» In December 2011, the UP Police launched ‘Operation Majnu’ in Ghaziabad, near Delhi, to ‘stop innocent girls from being trapped by boys with evil motives’. Captured on TV, it turned out to be a comical drive that involved SHO Alka Pandey harassing young couples in public parks and malls by ordering male ‘offenders’ to do sit-ups as a punishment for ‘misleading’ young girls. A public outcry led to Pandey’s suspension.
» In January 2012, the Delhi Police ordered all pubs and discotheques in the city to shut down before 12.30 am, 30 minutes earlier than usual. The police claimed that most places openly flouted norms and were proving a nuisance.
» In March 2012, the Delhi Police ordered shut a photographic exhibition by Sunil Gupta on homosexuality at Alliance Francaise in Delhi. The police had got complaints of nudity in the pictures, seen as against ‘Hindu culture’.
» In August 2011, the director of public instructions in Kerala sent a circular to all schools banning students from cinematic dancing (or dance moves a la mainstream films). The idea was to curb the allure of reality dancing shows on TV and safeguard students from being ‘exploited’ by dance trainers.
» Alcohol in the state is only supplied through outlets of Beverages Corp under the state government, and the queues resemble those at ration shops.
» In 1999, pool parlours sprang up across Mumbai, drawing swarms of teenagers. The Shiv Sena government of the time imposed a Rs 5,000 per table monthly tax and killed the nascent sector. It took almost a decade for pool to make a slight comeback.
» In early 2005, Maharashtra’s home minister abruptly banned all dance bars in the state, starting with those in Mumbai (see protest, in the article photos above). Over 100,000 bar dancers lost their jobs. Some left for Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries. Others turned to prostitution.
» In April 2007, the Mumbai Police booked over a hundred couples for ‘indecent behaviour’. Their crime: a quiet cuddle along the seafront in a city where there is little space for romantic youngsters to spend a few private moments together.
» In July 2011, the BMC banned hookah parlours. Recently the state’s Home Minister RR Patil said he would enforce the ban more strictly since extant penalties for flouting it were ‘too light’. He said hookahs were corrupting the young.
» In May this year, the police conducted a raid on a so-called ‘rave party’ at Oakwood Hotel and arrested 100 people. The media was called in advance. It was a publicity binge for the police, but turned out to be a regular party, with the police’s claim of narcotics abuse not borne out by tests.
» In 2005, a Tamil tabloid published pictures of couples kissing at a private party at Park Hotel. The Chennai Police revoked the nightclub’s licence for ‘obscenity’. They also said drinks were served after midnight.
» In Tamil Nadu, bar timings depend on who’s in power. Till 2006, the official time was 12.30 am. The Karunanidhi government revised the deadline to 11.30 pm. Jayalalitha has taken it back to 12.30.
» Chennai cops don’t like cosy couples, especially at beaches. They have a long history of terrorising lovers. Last year, the police commissioner said in an interview that he had seen boys and girls ‘hug inappropriately’. He however added that he had told his policemen to act with circumspection and not ‘react like over-excited parents’.
» In 2011, at Manchinabele Dam, 30 km from Bangalore, the police busted a rave party based on a tip-off from Kannada activists, who’d also called TV channels. Nearly 100 youngtsters were picked up in full media glare. The case was later closed as there was no evidence of drugs, and they were booked only for creating a public nuisance.
» In September 2011, inspired by a song sequence in the film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, a squishy tomato festival was slated to be held in Bangalore and Mysore. The state banned it because it felt it was a waste of food and ‘against Indian culture’.
» After a rape at Park Street in February, all bars, restaurants, discos, nightclubs in Kolkata are forced to shut by 11:30 pm. Only when foreign embassies/consulates organise parties is an exception made, but permission has to be sought from senior ministers in the CM’s cabinet. But there is a loophole. The satellite township of Salt Lake is not under the Kolkata Police’s jurisdiction. It is under the West Bengal Police and the 11:30 pm rule does not apply there.