The new sets of rules and restrictions in Cubbon Park -- Bengaluru's largest green space -- have put off the locals and netizens alike.
While Indian cities, especially the metropolitan ones, suffer from the lack of accessible public spaces, these new rules curbing activities like playing, eating, taking pictures or videos or even sitting close to your partners seem nothing but ridiculous.
According to reports, the security guards in the park have been orally instructed to ensure that visitors don't 'spoil the park's ambience'. And for the past month, the guards have been patrolling the park, blowing whistles, and policing those who according to them are violating these rules.
One of the bizarre rules imposes restrictions on public display of affection (PDA) by couples. They have been instructed to not 'get too close to each other'.
These rules are being set up by the department of horticulture and sericulture, claiming that they have been receiving complaints from families about PDA by couples.
In his interview with Times of India, Rajendra Kataria, the principal secretary of the horticulture and sericulture department, said, "The issue is not just of decorum. It's also of safety as couples hide behind bushes, where snakes and insects could harm them. The loudspeakers are not meant for policing friendly couples; it's only for those who break the rules and spoil the park,"
As the reports went viral, people called out these problematic rules, saying that it's moral policing disguised in the name of 'security and safety'.
A user commented, "The vision of parks without people, existing solely for the beautification of a city which is the hub if neoliberalism in India really says something about the urban imaginaries of the State".
Another user said, "More broadly I think it's a symptom of how we treat the entire government machinery. It's not treated as a service provider but an overlord, whose diktats must be obeyed and questioning is discouraged. Rights that are exercised are bound to be lost"