As couples look forward to spending time at the city's parks and malls on Valentine's Day, police are busy preparing to increase security.
T Suneel Kumar, the city police commissioner, said, "We will be arranging 'bandobast'. Police officers will be doing the rounds and keeping a watch on Lalbagh, Cubbon Park, shopping complexes, malls, cinema theatres, and places that will see more footfalls. Places, where youngsters hang out, will be monitored."
CCTV cameras in Lalbagh will be used to monitor Valentine's Day activity there. An officer and four other policemen are always posted there. On Thursday, the park will have three officers and 30 personnel.
In Cubbon Park, a police team of 12, headed by an officer, will do the rounds and keep vigil.
"Something like a public display of affection which annoys people is considered a nuisance and will be dealt with accordingly. Talking and walking together do not come under this," he says.
Gurpreet Kaur, Software professional
"My fiance and I went for a walk to Cubbon Park last year on Valentine's Day and saw many policemen checking with couples when they would leave. I can understand questioning when someone is lewd or loud in conversation or action."
Chandrashekar M R, Deputy director (Lalbagh), Horticulture Department:
"Lalbagh has 100 CCTV cameras, installed in January. They will be used to make sure couples are not troubled and safety and security are ensured. Police will be patrolling the park. All gates of the park will be open and everything else will function as usual. We have no regulations on couples or anyone at the park. We will not use CCTV footage or question individuals at the park."
Jishnu Vijayan, an MBA student
"My girlfriend and I were at Lalbagh last year and some young policemen asked us to leave because we were hugging. We said we were not troubling anyone but they told us to leave for our own safety. We reluctantly left the park. Moral policing in the name of safety is a regular sight nowadays."
Debjani Aich, Partner and advocate of with Kochhar & Co,
"If two consensual adults are sitting and holding hands or are in each other's arms, it would be difficult to construe it as being offensive in these modern times. Our country does not have rigid laws when it comes to electronic surveillance. When it comes to CCTV cameras, the police want to make sure no cases of sexual harassment or theft take place. Using CCTV cameras to monitor personal space is misusing power. PDA is not a criminal offence unless the act by itself is harassment."
If cops decide PDA is a nuisance...
They will book a petty case, and you will have to pay a penalty of Rs 100.
If they consider it a serious nuisance, they will launch an investigation.
(As told to Tini Sara Anien)