KOCHI: The City Police on Sunday failed miserably to control the large crowd that gathered at Marine Drive to witness the ‘Kiss of Love’ protest.
It appeared that the size of the crowd was significantly bigger than what the police force had expected, which included the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) and the Shadow Police.
“In fact, the police took the event very lightly. Around 300 policemen trying to control thousands of people itself showed the non-preparedness of the city police,” said a supporter of the event, who requested anonymity.
“We were ordered to stay calm, and to maintain a soft approach towards the protesters. But, we were forced to take action to control the spectators - the real problem-creators. The number of policemen was much less compared to the size of the crowd. However, we tried hard to avoid using force,” said a police official.
The hysteric crowd, which mostly comprised youth aged below 30, was anxious to have a glimpse of the protest. As the frequent yelling and cheers from the crowd reached the peak the police were forced to wave the ‘lathi’ on them several times. A few persons, including a media-person, were injured in the lathi charge.
“The behaviour of the public at the venue of the ‘Kiss of Love’ protest underlined the fact that they themselves wanted to engage in ‘moral policing’ against the protesters. However, our protest was a big success in view of the ‘tremor’ it created,” said one of the protesters.
Meanwhile, City Police Commissioner K G James told ‘Express’ that it was the timely intervention by the police that avoided unruly incidents.
“We arrested the protesters as a preventive measure, and to avoid law-and-order problems. We did not have any intention to assault anyone. But, we were forced to resort to lathi charge due to the the irresponsible behaviour from the part of the some of the spectators,” he said.
“When the Kiss of Love protesters arrived at the spot, the ground literally tuned into a ‘war-field’. Though we were only a few in number, we were successful in bringing the situation under control,” said a police official.