‘Kiss of love’ captured the imagination of the Malayali population across the city as they sat glued to television sets to watch and support the movement happening in the Kerala city of Kochi on Sunday. The demonstrators in Kochi kissed each other to protest against the increasing moral policing in the state.
Though the protestors were arrested before they could reach the spot, many in the city feel it was the people who opposed the movement who should have been arrested. “I am totally against any type of moral policing. How is it that instead of arresting the people belonging to various political parties who protested and manhandled the original protestors, the people who had come for this peaceful kind of protest were arrested,” said Rohit C, an instrumentation engineer in the city.
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“In a state with highest literacy occurs the maximum number of suicides and domestic violence. Women are harassed all the time and yet nobody cares to stop or protest that. But if some people want to stand up against moral policing, all hell breaks loose,” he added.
‘Free Thinkers’, a group of youths active on social networking website Facebook, organised the protest on Sunday and have made a Facebook page titled ‘Kiss of Love’. The page created on October 25 has so far generated about 60,000 likes and various people have uploaded their photographs from across the world expressing solidarity with the cause. IIT-Mumbai students too have extended their support.
Chirag Nambiar, a second year BBA student from Sinhgad Institute, said: “It is an individual’s choice to kiss someone or spend time with someone… How can someone tell me whom to befriend and whom to stay away from. But unfortunately that is what is happening in Kerala now on a large scale. I have seen Yuva Morcha people come and thrash a couple sitting on the beach. It’s time we stood up against these miscreants.”
Vimal Pillai from Kharadi, another IT professional, said: “In Kerala, people cheat each other, beat each other, extortion happens in broad daylight, political murders happen all the time and yet the right wing political parties have only time to stop youngsters holding hands or spending time together on the beach. The moral policing in Kerala has reached such a height that I am surprised such a protest didn’t take place earlier.”
It is not just the youngsters who think that it’s time to say no to moral policing. Retired Colonel Mohan Joseph from Suz Road believes it was time the Kerala society opened up and accepted the change happening around the world.
“Kerala society is well read and intelligent, but unfortunately it still has a conservative outlook. We need to try to be liberal and adapt ourselves to changes in culture. Instead of looking at every act of affection with a conservative scanner, we need to understand that a peck on cheek or a kiss is only a show of affection and there is nothing immoral about it. Plus, it is best to let people decide their own morals than judging others based on our ideas of morality,” he said.