Hyderabad cops in a soup after they stop people to check mobiles for ‘drug’ chats

Major embarrassment for Hyderabad cops as privacy intrusion marks anti-narcotics drive

The cops in Hyderabad seem to be on a mission. The mission, though it centres around a crackdown on narcotics, has, however, ended up as an embarrassment for the police department and the government.

As part of an anti-narcotics drive, Hyderabad police went on an all-out crackdown by halting people on the roads, grabbing their mobile phones and checking for WhatsApp chats in a bid to find worlds like drugs, ganja and what not!  

Little did these cops realise they were committing a folly and that the whole exercise would blow over. And it did. The intrusion into citizens’ privacy is what the who episode was, and the police will now have to explain the reason as to why they could not respect people’s privacy.

Privacy intrusion folly by Hyderabad cops

Activists are now out in the open and are accusing the police of slamming into citizens’ privacy, which indeed is a grave error. And that when it comes from a law-keeping force, it becomes even more serious.

Currently, videos of police and excise department personnel stopping people on roads and checking their vehicles and mobile phones are viral on social media.  The videos offer clear evidence on how the law was being flouted by those who are supposed to ensure it.

Widespread condemnation against the police action is now turning to be bad for the cops. There are many who have taken to public fora and social media with the question of whether the Hyderabad police action was indeed legal.

Television news reports have even showcased lawyers calling out police behaviour as unconstitutional. People have taken to social media reminding the police that the Supreme Court of India had ruled that the “right to privacy is a fundamental right and is an intrinsic part of the right to personal liberty under Art 21 of the Constitution”.

Law-keepers turn offenders, feel activists

This makes the cops’ behaviour grave. Whatever be the motive, intrusion into people’s privacy by stopping them on sidewalks and grabbing their mobile phones to know whether they have chatted with contacts on drugs is stretching law enforcement too much.

There are many people, most of them ordinary citizens who toil all day to meet ends, who have posed queries like whether the police would have done the same with celebrities and the high flyer community.

It is now left to the top brass at the Police Headquarters and even the administrative machinery to explain the folly.

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