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Kerala – ‘Kiss of Love’ to protest moral policing

Ramesh Babu K C, Hindustan Times  Kochi, October 29, 2014

To express freedom of love in the wake of attack against a coffee shop in Kozhikode last week by BJP youth wing activists alleging immoral activities, a group youngsters have decided to observe a ‘kiss day’ in port city Kochi on November 2 putting the police in a bind.

Though the police have denied official permission to hold a massive kissing drive they said they would intervene if it crosses limit of permissible decency and create a law and order issue.  A Kerala version of ‘pink chaddi’ (after Mangalore attack on young couples women had sent pink inner wear to Sree Ram Sena leader Pramod Muthalik) campaign the drive has evoked massive response from netizens and two actors have supported it.

Organisers of the event have invited couple to assemble at idyllic Marine Drive Sunday evening to express their love as well as angst against moral policing.  What really triggered such a campaign is the recent attack against a coffee shop in Kozhikode (north Kerala) _ after a news channel came out with a story alleging immoral activities in the hotel Yuva Morcha (BJP youth outfit) activists had attacked the eatery and vandalized it badly.

The organizers said their aim was not to target any political party or group but to draw attention to the fact that it was not acceptable to intrude into some one’s privacy citing flimsy moral reasons. “Criminalization of affection and love is really bad. The attack against the coffee shop was just a trigger. Sadly this tendency is growing everywhere,” said S Rahul, one of the organizers.

After gauging its success organizers are planning to conduct such campaigns in other cities. The social media page “Kiss of Love” is already a big hit with more than 10,000 likes. And some Bangalore-based techies said they would be driving down to Kochi to participate in the event. The LGBT (lesbians, gays, bi-sexual and trans genders) community has pledged its support. Organizers are expecting at least 10,000 couples to join the open kissing event.  “Lovers will kiss each other. We want to send a strong signal to moral police that violence can’t overcome love,” Rahul said.

“We can’t prevent people from assembling. But if it creates a law and order problem and traffic snarls we will arrest and remove them from the spot,” said Kochi deputy commissioner Nishanthini. The Viswa Hindu Parishad and Yuva Morcha said they would not disrupt the function.

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