After the activists of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha vandalised Downtown Cafe restaurant in Kozhikode claiming ‘immoral activities’ were encouraged, the state has witnessed widespread protests against the so-called ‘moral policing’.
The protests from all over the place have been posted initially in the social media where the people resorted to agitation against the moral policing act of the youth wing of the BJP. The recent event “Kiss of Love” that was held at Marine Drive in Kochi, which was launched as a protest against the Yuva Morcha activists, has gained the attention of the people all over the country.
The movement organised was against the fundamentalist and reactionary elements in the country who indulge in moral policing and cause hindrance to public life. The event protesting the moral policing in Kerala was posted on social media website Facebook, inviting people to come forward with their partners to kiss or hug at Marine Drive. The event was organised by a group in Facebook called ‘Free Thinkers’, whose origin goes back to JNU during the post-Emergency period.
Once the event was organised and declared, there were huge discussions and debates in the state regarding the way to protest, especially bringing in the concept of ‘the culture and tradition of Kerala’. The permission to conduct the strike ‘Kiss of Love’ was, however, denied. Also, the Facebook page about the event and the accounts, which received thousands of likes has been hacked.
The Facebook page showed the group’s disappointment and anger towards moral policing ‘act’. It said: “The only motive of our campaign is to oppose cultural fascism using the democratic methods that are backed by our Constitution.”
It further said, “We have clear cut politics and that is rooted in the concept of individual freedom. We are against cultural fascism and fundamentalistic ideologies. We are not protesting against the law, rather we are protesting against the lawlessness of moral policing.”
The youth wing of the BJP has raged the hotel after a local TV channel aired some video footage alleging the restaurant promotes immoral activities. But the movement failed to die down, rather is spreading like wildfire. A group of students of the University of Hyderabad too joined the movement and held a demonstration on their campus to express solidarity with the organisers of the Kochi event, though they too faced the wrath of the BJP student and youth wing on Sunday.
Now after Kerala, Hyderabad, it was reaching the east coast students of Jadavpur University in Kolkata, West Bengal, where they are set to host a “Kiss of Love” event soon. Defending the protest, a student was quoted to have said:
“We are protesting against the organised instances of moral policing. Interested citizens are welcome to join us. From Kochi to Kolkata, instances of moral policing are not rare. A saffron wave is slowly but surely engulfing the country — be it through accusations of conducting ‘Love Jihad’ for loving a person from a different religion or attack on young people displaying affection.”
Aware of the protests and their social impact, now a group is planning protest against ban on smoking in public places. The protest being organised by a group in Kannur, again in Kerala, will soon be posted on Facebook, said the organisers.