Kerala's 'Kiss of Love' Protest, Planned for Sunday, Draws Opposition

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Torn posters of the 'Kiss of Love' protest in Kochi

Kochi:  As eight young people gathered today in Kochi in Kerala to publicize a "kiss of love" protest they have planned for Sunday, the placards they were carrying were torn up by 2-3 men, who did not say whether they belong to or support a political group.

One of them, Naveen, justified his intervention with this explanation - "Kiss of love is a bad precedent and is not safe for our wives and children."

Sunday's gathering has been planned to rally against what the organizers describe as the "moral policing" allegedly by right-wing groups. Last week, a coffee shop in Kozhikode, around 170 kms away, was vandalized, allegedly by members of a youth wing affiliated to the BJP. They claimed the cafe was used by young students for dates, which they deem unacceptable.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad or VHP has said it will "legally challenge" the attempt to gather people on Sunday in a public display of affection at the Marine Drive in Kochi at 5 pm on Sunday. The police has refused permission for the rally.

The Facebook page for the protest says "Moral Policing is a criminal activity. Most of political parties and religious organizations try to do that. A group of young bloods join their hands together to prove to society that the kiss is the symbol of love."

"We should have the freedom to express ourselves. I am with my wife. Why can't I hold my wife's hand or hug her without people passing comments," asked Rahul Pashupalan, one of the main organizers of Sunday's event.

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