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Chennai Pub Moral Policing: Police File FIR Against a Crime Reporter, 5 Others

The incident has sparked outrage on social media, with many questioning why the women pub-goers were targeted.

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This just happened: The Chennai Police on Friday, 24 November, filed a First Information Report (FIR) against the crime reporter of News Tamil 24*7 channel and five others in connection with the alleged harassment and moral policing of women at the Big Bull Lounge on 19 November.

The context: On 19 November – the evening of the ICC World Cup 2023 – at least two Tamil TV channels, including Thanthi TV, Polimer News, and News Tamil 24*7, allegedly ran behind the women exiting the pub during what they termed as a 'pub raid'. They then forcibly filmed them and purportedly passed lewd comments at their attire.

The incident had sparked outrage on social media, with many questioning why the women pub-goers were targeted and the misogynistic and misleading nature of the coverage of the incident by the media.
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What led to this? The Saidapet Police, speaking to The Indian Express, said that a group of men allegedly wanted to enter the pub in an 'inebriated state' at 11:30 pm. However, the pub reportedly refused to take their order as it was closing time (in accordance with the curfew time for pubs to operate in Chennai).

"The group then sat outside and said they would beat up any customer who exited. They waited for a long time outside. Later, a media person arrived at the pub. He asked what the ruckus was about and tried to enter," an employee of the pub told The News Minute.

Things took a turn for the worse when the women exiting the pub began to be allegedly filmed by the TV crew who had arrived on the scene to cover what they termed as a 'pub raid'.

Two days after the incident, on 21 November, two people filed a complaint with the Chennai Police – one a woman survivor and the husband of another woman who was with her at the time of the incident.

What we know: A case has been registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) invoking Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 341 (wrongful restraint), 294(b) (obscenity), 354A (making sexually coloured remarks), 509 (insult the modesty of a woman), and Section 4 (whoever commits or participates in or abets harassment of woman in any public place) of the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Women Harassment Act, the police said.

Who were named: Sudharsan, the crime reporter at News Tamil 24*7, and five men who created a ruckus outside the pub were named in the FIR.

(With inputs from Ritesh Ranjit.)

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Topics:  Moral Policing 

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