There is one party Mumbai's top cop Vasant Dhoble will struggle to break -- and that's the one that's going on Twitter over his supposed "moral policing" of nightclubs in the city.
Twitterati have taken to the social media to bust assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Dhoble's party as everyone from B-town celebrities to Mumbaikars mocked him and his police force on Twitter.
Dhoble is being ridiculed for his crackdown on Mumbai nightlife which involves shutting down pubs and imposing restrictions under the banner of flouting rules.
His critics took to the internet to suggest that he's a prude and a cop with archaic and misguided ideas of morality and culture.
Jimmy @JimmyRawkz wrote on Twitter: "This ACP #Dhoble guy is taking out his frustration on innocent people. Someone needs to gift him a couple of Naughty America DVDs asap..."
Mumbai's nightlife has suffered because of strict regulations like early closing hours, excessive red tape and archaic overcrowding laws, and the problems were further compounded last year when the minimum drinking age to buy beer was raised from 18 to 21. A lot of people opposed that law too.
As a result of the strict regulations, the city police's powers have increased and some say Dhoble is only enforcing them as within his capacity. They are others though who hint at something more...
Sachi Mohanty @sachi_bbsr wrote on Twitter: "#Dhoble is doing what he needs to do to become the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai. Remember Patnaik doing the same when he was ACP?"
It was reports of his raid on Cafe Zoe in Mumbai recently that led to the flurry of tweets on him on Tuesday. But the cafe itself has since come to his defence saying the reports were exaggerated and sensationalised by the press that first covered the scene.
The Cafe refuted the claims made by the press. The cafe admitted to being fined, but said the alleged raid as reported in the media was exaggerated.
The clarification came on the cafe's Facebook page. They also challenged the fine amount cited in the news reports. It said: "Also, no, we were NOT RAIDED by the authorities on Friday. We were just fined, and that too after we had closed the Cafe. And despite the fact that the Mumbai Mirror made the so called raid sound grave, we assure you that everything occurred smoothly and there was absolutely NO drama whatsoever, NO 'pandemonium' and NO unpaid bills."
Whatever the truth behind that story, Dhoble's reputation precedes him around the city. He is often portrayed as a moral policing officer with a draconian mindset, exercising his power to conduct raids in pubs, bars, nightclubs and hotels.
His methods have been questioned as well since he allegedly carries a camera during the raids, filming people for violations.
There were some who compared Dhoble's actions to that of the Shivsena's during Valentine's Day.
V @DoctorsTouch wrote on Twitter: "this #dhoble incident make me remember when Bharatiya vidyarthi sena a youth org of shivsena used to vandalised on valentine days.."
And as alike the response by Bangalore to Ram Sena's attempts to stiffle Valentine's Day, some suggested a underwear campaign against Dhoble.
Sukhada Tatke @ASuitableGirl wrote: "Guess it's time to send pink chaddis to a certain Mr #Dhoble."
But some sought a more conventional protest. Shrinjoy Roy @shrinjoyr wrote: "We should start a #BarBharo Andolan to protest against #Dhoble"
The jokes and puns grew louder on Twitter, as memes (or funny references) on Dhoble popped up. The ever-popular bar scene joke was used to mock the cop. "So a girl walks into a bar... #dhoble http://pic.twitter.com/dmyIkgv8," was trending...
The recent raid on the cafe has made Dhoble famous on Twitter.
The cop's previous press comments on the bar scene have irked Mumbaikars as well. Here's a sample on what was trending on Twitter today:
I bet ACP Dhoble has claustrophobia. Makes ALL the sense in the world doesn't it.
Ashwin Mushran @ashwinmushran
#DHOBLE likes beating up Mumbai citizens at night....He calls it a Night Club
Mumbai folks better watch it: ACP Dhoble might put you behind bars for reading Omar Khayyam without licence at home...
Rishi Alwani @slackerninja
ACP Vasant Dhoble is to nightlife what Kapil Sibal is to the internet.
Gareeb Chutkule @GareebChutkule
So all ACP Dhoble needs now is a shorter mustache. He's already heading the SS.
Pearl Shah @PearlShah
This isn't the bombay I knew of. On sat friends rounded up at shiros. This terrible controlling patrol is what's truly #immoral #dhoble
But not everyone took to the popular view of ridiculing Dhoble's actions. A few even defended him on Twitter and questioned the morality of those ridiculing him.
Madhuchhanda @madhu27 wrote: "We always crib abt societal evils. But if somebody like #Dhoble takes d step 2 stop social evils, then he is criticised.double standards?"
She went on to add: "People who r criticising actions of #Dhoble , must be bewdas / drunkards".
But Dhoble's himself has always maintained a linear response to his critics, claiming he has always played by by the rules and is only acting out with the authority entrusted to him by the state. In a May interview to the Hindustan Times
, he said: "We are not against any establishment’s business — whether it’s a pub, discotheque, orchestra bar, massage centre, beauty parlour or anything. But the younger generation is attracted to all these places, particularly discos. And they are in dangerous situations".
Dhoble also has another fan if you are to go by press reports. A Mumbai Mirror report
said the home minister R. R. Patil is extremely pleased with Dhoble's work that he’s expanded his jurisdiction to Thane.
In the same report, Dhoble appears not to deny being viewed as a moral enforcer and goes on to say: “We would not need to do moral policing if the youth understood good from bad. I’ve seen many people in trouble and have rescued them”.
Dhoble, who appears to have taken it upon himself to "save the amoral" youth from self destruction, went on to add: “I’ve seen how girls and boys are exploited in these places of entertainment. My aim is also to save them.”
But the amount of critiques though seem to weigh against our cop. An anti-Dhoble group on Facebook
with a following of over 21,000 has branded him as the “Oppressor of the Innocent” and hopes to bring to notice his "moral policing".