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Sunday, September 23

Kiss of Love campaign against moral policing in Kerala

Kiss of Love campaign against moral policing in Kerala


www.mangaloretoday.com

By Ramesh Babu

Kochi, November 02, 2014: The much-hyped ‘kiss of love’ campaign to protest against growing moral policing has fizzled out after the police rounded up 50-odd activists who were planning to march towards Marine Drive, the venue of the event. The police detained the organisers and sympathisers, including women, even before they could reach the venue of the symbolic protest against moral policing.

Just as the march began at around 4pm, the police team led by DCP (Law and Order), R Nishantini, took the organisers and sympathisers into custody and bundled them into a police van as they raised slogans against moral policing.

 

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Though the organisers had claimed that 5,000 activists would take part in the event many pro-kiss activists backed out at the eleventh hour fearing violence. Since morning many anti-kiss drive activists had swarmed Marine Drive and assembled at vantage points insisting that they won’t allow the event come what may.

 

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The police resorted to a mild lathi-charge to disperse the crowd that attacked two motor-cyle borne pro-kiss activists.  At least eight protesters and media personnel were injured in the ensuing scuffle. Traffic was disrupted for more than two hours.

Despite the police arresting them minutes before their march to the venue, pro-kiss activists claimed that their campaign was a run-away hit. “We succeeded in sending a strong message throughout the country that moral policing is worse than voyeurism. We got unprecedented support from many quarters. It is a strong warning to moral police,” said N Nandini, one of the activists.

Earlier, protesters on Sunday blocked roads leading to Kochi’s Marine Drive, the venue for ‘Kiss of Love’ — a mass-kissing campaign against alleged moral policing by right-wing groups.

The port city remained tense with suspected members of the Shiv Sena, Samastha Sunni Students Federation and other activist groups saying they would not let the event take place.

Around 1,000 policemen were deployed to prevent any untoward incident as those supporting the drive planned to march to the venue by 5:00pm.

The campaign was launched on social media after a coffee shop in north Kerala’s Kozhikode city was vandalised recently by a group of people who criticised the public display of affection by some couples there.

 

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A day after the Kerala high court refused to intervene, the organisers said on Sunday they would go ahead with the protest, even as they were yet to get permission from the police.

Though the police had denied permission for the event, they said they would only intervene if it created a law and order problem.

Stressing that it was "not a kiss fest" but a gathering of like-minded people to raise awareness against moral policing, the organisers said they would next focus on creating awareness about the deadly AIDS.

’Free Thinkers’, a Facebook group organising the programme, expected about 700-1000 people would participate.

"There is no question of backtracking. The protest will be held as scheduled at 5pm at the venue with participants holding placards," Rahul Pasupalan, IT professional and short film maker and Jijo Kuriakose, a researcher and members of ’Free Thinkers’ had told reporters earlier in the day.

On Saturday, the organisers had received a shot in the arm with the Kerala high court refusing to interfere with the event after the state government assured action would be taken in the event of any illegal activities. Two petitions seeking to prohibit the event was disposed by the court recording the government’s submission.

"This is not a kiss fest. It is a gathering of like minded people to protest against moral policing. We are independent thinkers and this is a gathering of the Facebook users," they said, adding young and old couple, parents and youngsters were all welcome to participate in the event, which is a platform to protest against moral policing.

Pasupalan said though they approached police four days back with a request for permission to conduct the event, they were yet to receive any intimation allowing or denying permission.

Pointing out that kissing and hugging was only a form of agitation they had chosen to raise awareness against moral policing, Rahul said it was precisely due to the novel form of protest they had adopted that so much heat had been generated.

"Isn’t everyone talking about the event?" he asked.

"Because we selected this form of protest, everyone is discussing it. We want to create an awareness against moral policing," they said.

Jijo Kuriakose said the group would next focus their attention on creating awareness about the deadly AIDS.

Interestingly parallel to the ‘kiss fest’ a slew of other protests are expected to take place near the venue. Leading Malayalam literary critic M Leelavathy and Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany are among the main participants expected to join a parallel protest event being organized by the Kerala Students’ Union, student wing of the Congress.

 

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The campaign was launched on social media after a coffee shop in north Kerala’s Kozhikode city was vandalised last week by a group of people who criticised the public display of affection by some couples there.

The attack came after a news channel owned by a political party carried a report on October 23 with visuals of “immoral activities” allegedly taking place at the establishment, showing young couples kissing and embracing.


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Comments on this Article
Lohith, Agra Tue, November-4-2014, 10:01
Oh.. I want to come thr but I am single now... If u offer any partner for me i will be thr...i really wish to be there
venirona, England Tue, November-4-2014, 9:59
Please stop such nonsense..I just saw the news on several news channel AND i was shocked!! girls kissing each other.. People who see this over here in western country will definitely call them lesbians.. Please stop all these. Really feel pity on them
Venkat, Mangalore Tue, November-4-2014, 5:16
I don’t understand, why can’t young people be allowed to do what they are supposed to do. Isn’t that how procreation happens? Isn’t that how the previous generation enjoyed? Coming to the protest itself, that will be banned. There will be strikes. Buses and public property will be destroyed. But then, it has to start somewhere, so that’s that.
Manoj Shetty, Manipal Tue, November-4-2014, 5:03
I think the motive is good, but the path chosen,? Am not very sure about that. Moral policing has always been a menace in India. Self righteous activists dictate norms, on how people should behave. Not just couples, if two people, a guy and a girl go out, they might just be friends, the looks you receive are piercing. I am damn sure the old grumpy women must be thinking , "Had it been my daughter, I’d have bashed her bones for it."
Ragavendra Bhat, cove Tue, November-4-2014, 5:03
youths are miss using their freedom a lot today if kissing protest is supported then there may be some day where people will start doing sex protest!! do we all need this ?? its really disgusting
humshu, kuvaar Tue, November-4-2014, 4:56
If we have freedom that does not mean we can do everything. there are some limits. according to me bajaranga dala is always right..
Praveen, kannur Tue, November-4-2014, 4:10
Kissing is our freedom so i don think there should be some one to restrict it. Our wish our life.
Roopal, surathkal Tue, November-4-2014, 4:06
What ever is the matter public kiss is really shameful we Indians should have respect to our culture and public kissing is not our culture
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