KOCHI: With just three days left for the kiss-fest, a protest event against moral policing scheduled to be held on Sunday at Marine Drive here, the police spooked by potential law and order issues are yet to give organisers the go-ahead.
The possibility of confrontation between groups opposed to the event and participants became evident on Wednesday after the banners and placards of the event organisers were torn when they reached the Marine Drive to appear in a national news channel. The organisers, numbering about eight, reached the Marine Drive by 10 am with ‘Stop moral policing’ and ‘Freedom to express love’ written on their placards.
“While we were giving sound bytes to the channel, two men started to tear the placards and abused us,” said Rahul Pasupalan, one of the organisers of the fest. Within a couple of minutes, police reached the spot and the scuffle was resolved.
The organisers said they are not going to complain to police over the incident, allegedly initiated by Congress workers. “But this should open the eyes of the police. We should have adequate protection when we hold the event on November 2 evening,” Rahul said.
The BJP district committee, its women’s wing Mahila Morcha, the VHP and the Kerala Niyama Sahaya Samithi have come out against the event.
“We have not given anything in writing to the organisers, either in favour or against holding such an event,” said R Nishanthini, Deputy Commissioner of Police adding that the Special Branch is collecting intelligence regarding the event.
“If there is a law and order issue or a public display of obscenity, the police will act,” said the DCP. Rahul Pasupalan, a 28-year-old aspiring film maker, started a Facebook page to promote the protest event ‘Kiss of Love’ after Yuva Morcha activists attacked a restaurant in Kozhikode, accusing it of allowing permissive behaviour on its premises.
The page went viral and 21,352 people have liked it when this story went to print. In its event page on FB, 4,100 people have assured participation to lock their lips.
“We want people to come to Marine Drive with placards against moral policing on Sunday. We want them to freely kiss and hug without the fears of moral policing,” said Rahul.
Writer N S Madhavan termed the event as “Kerala’s Pink Chaddi moment”. “Remember how a social media campaign against Mangalore pub attacks resulted in moral police chief Pramod Muthalik of Sri Ram Sene getting drowned under a sea of pink underwear couriered to him from all over?” he said.
According to him the Kozhikode incident was worse than the Mangalore pub attack because a private channel was a co-conspirator. “So when the regular media is a perpetrator, where can the answer come except from the social media. It has come hard and in time. Having said this I have to warn about equally vigilante Kerala police who can misuse antiquarian Section 294 of IPC against PDA. Well-intentioned youth behind this campaign should also be cautious,” he said.
The organisers said they have received support from various corners. “JNU students have promised us that they will organise protests in Delhi if the event runs into trouble here,” said Rahul.
The organisers have been asked to be cautious by the Special Branch. They have been told not to share their contact details until the event is over.
Women’s Panel Flays ‘Kiss Festival’
The State Women’s Commission on Wednesday came out against the increasing incidents of moral policing in the state and the ‘kiss festival’ scheduled at Marine Drive in Kochi on Sunday in protest against it.
The Commission said that this protest was against the culture and heritage of state and should be stopped and will write to the Chief Minister and Home Minister in this regard.