Say No to Moral Policing: What Netas Can Learn from Cong Leader Kavita Reddy’s Apology to Samyuktha Hegde


Say No to Moral Policing: What Netas Can Learn from Cong Leader Kavita Reddy’s Apology to Samyuktha Hegde

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

The Kavitha Reddy-Samyuktha Hegde saga has come to a conclusion. In the end, all it took was an apology. The Congress leader realised her mistake, and instead of doubling down on her attack, she apologised. It has also been gracefully accepted.  The controversy has been put to rest and everyone can now move on. A good case study in conflict resolution and a lesson for other netas to stop moral policing.

“I have always opposed Moral Policing. I realize that my actions were construed as such. An argument ended up in me reacting aggressively as well, it was a mistake. As a responsible citizen n progressive woman, I own up to and sincerely apologise to @SamyukthaHegde and her friends!” Congress leader said, along with a video message on Twitter. She has been accused of abusing and attacking the Kannada actor and her friends for working out in a sports bra in a park in Bengaluru.

Hegde accepted the apology and hoped that everyone could move forward from this incident and make women feel safe everywhere. She also shared the apology letter written to her by Reddy where she states that “no one has the right to tell a woman what to wear and how to behave”.

The incident that triggered these chain of events took place on Friday morning. Taking objection to the workout clothes, Kavitha Reddy had asked the actor and her companions to leave the park.

In an Instagram live, Kavitha Reddy can be heard saying that Samyuktha was “dancing naked” and is heard telling the police that she wants to file a case against her for “public decency”. A man in the crowd also threatens to “tell the media” that the actor is “consuming drugs”.

Samyuktha Hedge and her friends went to the HSR Layout Police Station to file a complaint against Reddy and the men who heckled them at the park adjacent to Agara Lake. “The future of our country reflects on what we do today. We were abused and ridiculed by Kavitha Reddy at Agara Lake,” Samyuktha said on Twitter.

Support poured in for Hedge on social media, as people opposed the blatant moral policing. Some posted tweets, others, videos of working out in sports bras. “Just because you think someone isn’t dressed like they ought to,in YOUR opinion, gives you no right to charge towards them or slap them. The world doesn’t need more moral policing, especially not from sanctimonious aunties,” tweeted Richa Chadha.

After all the criticism, hashtags and tweets that flooded the internet, Kavitha Reddy was perhaps forced into deliberation (maybe by the police complaint). She didn’t do what most politicians or people on the internet do after being proved wrong, form gangs and attack the other person. The easiest thing to do is just widen the conflict even further, with personal attacks and derogatory statements. Instead, she accepted her mistake.

She issued a statement, then posted an apology video and deleted her older posts where she was being plain nasty. It is rare of Indian politicians to say sorry.

Be like Kavitha Reddy. Except for the moral policing, of course.