Jajpur: Young girls and boys were made to kneel down in front of police station for allegedly "kissing, cuddling and holding hands" in public places by cops in Jajpur district, sparking criticism from activists.
While women organisations and human rights body alleged that it was violation of rights, police claimed the the "drive is being undertaken taken to avoid complications like rape, murder or kidnapping of young girls".
The incident took place yesterday when the Jajpur police "caught" at least three couples, all college students, from a park at Jajpur town.
They were picked up and taken to a police station at Jajpur Town and ordered to kneel down outside the building. Their parents were later summoned to the police station.
However, the youngsters were freed after a warning. No case was registered in the matter.
"We caught the three pairs of girls and boys for kissing, cuddling and holding each others hands at the park. We brought them to the police station and warned them not repeat the act," said Alok Ranjan Roy, inspector-in-charge (IIC) of Jajpur town police station.
The police have launched a crackdown after a minor school girl was abducted and confined to an abandoned house for several hours by five youths on Sunday.
"The drive is being taken to avoid complications like rape, murder or kidnapping of young girls," Roy said.
"The couples have annoyed local people by such activities. Their public display of love has turned as discomfort for others," Roy said.
"We strongly condemned the act of the police in which they forced the girls and boys to kneel down in full public view. This is the violation of human rights. If they committed any crimes, they should have been forwarded to the court. Publicly kneeling them down is a reprehensible act," said Uday Sahu, Jajpur district secretary of All India Human Rights association.
When contacted, Jajpur Superintendent of Police, Deepak Kumar said, "the matter is being examined. If there is any instance of assault, appropriate action will be taken against the erring officials?"