Tension prevailed on the campus of Hyderabad Central University on Sunday over the “Kiss of Love” campaign arranged by Free Thinkers, a group of students from Kerala in conjunction with similar campaign arranged in Kochi against moral policing as some right wing students tried to disrupt it.
Activists of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the BJP, and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the supposedly BJP-affiliated student wing tried to prevent Kerala students from organising the controversial campaign.
The participants resisted the disruption and it led to scuffle between the two groups and tension prevailed on the campus throughout the evening. The two groups raised slogans against each other but police intervened to bring the situation under control, and arrested scores of protesters from both sides.
The trouble began when BJYM and ABVP activists staged a dharna against the campaign organised by some Kerala students to protest growing moral policing. The right wing students and leaders demanded that the university authorities should stop the ‘kiss of love’ as it was against Indian culture.
The participants, including many girls, took strong exception to the moral policing by these groups and staged a counter dharna demanding that they should be allowed to carry on with the campaign.
They raised slogans like “police go back”, “ABVP down down” and “fight is our slogan against every repression” and some of them are seen holding placards which read “fight against moral policing”, “Even if I walk nude, I am not asking for it”.
The “Kiss of Love” campaign participants had heated arguments with police officers. One student later clarified that it was not a kissing festival but a gathering of like-minded people, to hold poetry reading and other academic activities.
The programme was conducted in the university as part of the campaign launched by a group of students in Kerala against moral policing.
The group called ‘Free Thinkers’ launched the campaign to protest the recent attack on a coffee shop in Kerala’s Kozhikode city by a group of people who criticised the public display of affection by some couples.
Free Thinkers is a loosely gathered group with common interest not affiliated to any political party and JNU was the origin where they grew in numbers and ironically some of its erstwhile leaders from JNU like Nirmala Seetharaman is a BJP leader and now the central minister.