3 techies and friend ‘moral-policed’ by cops at Hyderabad resort; sparks controversy

3 techies and friend 'moral-policed' by cops at Hyderabad resort; sparks controversy

3 techies and friend 'moral-policed' by cops at Hyderabad resort; sparks controversy

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Alleged moral policing to ‘Teaching Indian Values’ incident sparks controversy; guests feel unsafe during police intervention at upscale resort.

June 28, 2024

In a troubling incident at Hilltop Murugavani Resorts in Eegalapenta, about 190 km from Hyderabad, three software engineers from Hyderabad and a Mumbai cinematographer faced harassment from police officers during their stay. The incident occurred around 1:30 am on June 22, when the police allegedly barged into their room and berated them for staying together unmarried, citing cultural norms.

Shreya Datta, a software engineer who booked a double room along with a friend, recounted the ordeal. She stated that they were initially promised additional bedding in the same room when more friends joined them for the weekend trip. Despite assurance from the resort staff, three police officers arrived unexpectedly and demanded all occupants, including women, to step out.

“There were three police officers and first, they asked us who we are and where we are from. Then he asked all of us, including the women, to step out of the room and began to shout at us about Indian culture. He said that unmarried men and women should not stay in a room,” said Arani Majumder, another software engineer in the group. 

The police sub-inspector, D Veeramallu, reportedly told them outright that “four men and women living in the same room goes against Indian culture” and berated them. Datta added, “He even sized us up, looking at us from top to bottom. Without the presence of any woman police officer, the whole ordeal was unnerving. We felt extremely unsafe.”

Shramana Sen, a cinematographer from Mumbai, noted that the police persisted with questioning. Despite, being shown relevant documents, he said “On camera, they were asking us to answer their questions, but we had already answered all questions. It was difficult to understand what the police actually wanted. It felt like we were being harassed intentionally.”

The whole ordeal went on for about 15 minutes before the police left. “The incident has left us traumatized. We had only gone for a weekend trip,” Majumder said.

The resort management blamed the police for targeting them due to prior disputes. He claimed that this was the third surprise check that month. The resort clarified that while Datta had requested a separate room initially, the resort was fully booked. In such cases, only additional bedding could be offered. The manager stated, “Police officers often come here for food and accommodation and we oblige them when rooms are available. But on June 22, we were full so when they asked us for a room in the middle of the night, we could not accommodate them.”

In response, Sub-Inspector D Veeramallu defended his actions. He stated that they were conducting routine checks as instructed by senior officers. “As part of regular duty, we checked the antecedents of the guests. In one room, there were two men and two women and when checked only one individual had identity proof,” he told a news agency. He emphasized the need for all guests, especially unmarried ones, to provide identification, suggesting procedural lapses on the part of the resort staff.

The incident has sparked outrage and raised questions about privacy and police conduct during such checks.

Authorities are yet to comment officially on the matter as investigations and public scrutiny continue.