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Indian wins battle with police over 'indecent' kiss

Indian wins battle with police over 'indecent' kiss

Wednesday, April 03, 2013, 20:00 GMT+7

An Indian arrested for indecency after he kissed a female friend on the cheek says he has finally been acquitted after a battle lasting more than a year against Mumbai police.

Kuber Sarup, 26, was hauled to a city police station in February last year after an officer witnessed the alleged obscenity -- a goodbye hug and a "peck on the cheek" -- in the fashionable Bandra suburb.

"He gave me a lecture on Hindu culture and asked me if I understood it," Sarup told AFP on Wednesday. "He said if you want to argue you have to go the police station."

Sarup said he was told to pay a fine of 1,200 rupees (22 dollars) or face a night in a police cell, so he paid up but went to court the next day to contest the charge.

Nearly a dozen court appearances later, a magistrate finally agreed on Monday that there was no evidence of public indecency, which is banned under section 110 of the Bombay Police Act of 1951.

"It was worth it," said Sarup, who owns a production company and said he wanted to take a stand against such arrests. "What is decent and indecent, police need a bit more clarity on that."

Police at the station in Khar suburb, where Sarup was taken, told AFP that the case happened too long ago to comment, while local media praised Sarup for having "the courage to stand up to the system".

"For far too long, citizens have accepted the moral standards set by laws enacted decades ago," said the Times of India. "Societal mores and moral standards cannot be etched in stone; they change."

Mumbai police have come under fire before for overzealous "moral policing" and using outdated laws, especially last year after a spate of raids on popular bars and nightclubs threatened to ruin the city's party scene.

In January, police in a neighbouring district were slammed for targeting couples and young women in isolated areas or out late at night in a drive to curb sexual harassment, rather than focusing on their potential attackers.

AFP

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