Forbidden by the Bangalore police from holding a Kiss of Love protest on Sunday, on the lines of protests held in Kochi and Delhi against moral policing, a group of activists who rallied online support for the campaign are looking at a comeback at a later date to address a bouquet of issues apart from moral policing.
The Kiss of Love campaigners who have received support from human rights NGOs like Amnesty International will broad base its campaign to address issues surrounding the rights of women Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender (LGBT) community members a core group of organizers of the proposed Kiss of Love event have stated.
“Many have misunderstood the intention of the campaign due to the prefix of the word ‘Kiss’. But in reality we are standing for liberty and freedom of the individual. Moreover the word kiss is a decent expression and not derogatory,” media coordinator for the Kiss of Love campaign K Vijayan said.
Threats from right-wing organizations and a lack of support from the city police have forced the campaigners to redraft their ‘protest plan’, he said. Meetings have been scheduled with various interest groups and NGOs across the state dealing with LGBT, women empowerment and human rights issues to discuss the way forward for the campaign. “Though we are clearly within our rights but we need to finalize our rebuttal to convince stakeholders such as state government and the police department,” Vijayan said.
The Bangalore police had last week refused to grant permission for the Kiss of Love protest in Bangalore. While the online campaigners were hoping to hold the protest despite the lack of formal police permission a court order to prevent the event from taking place – issued on the basis of a plea filed by an advocate – resulted in the police sending in troops to secure the Town Hall where the event was scheduled to be held on Sunday evening.
“We uphold the right to protest but it must be within the legal framework. Lip locking might be normal in Amsterdam but it is not part of our society. It might be seen as obscenity and might disturb the over all law and order situation,” police commissioner M N Reddi said. The police commissioner said his department had received a fresh appeal from the Kiss of Love campaigners for holding a protest in the city.
According to the Kiss of Love campaigners over 1000 people had agreed to take part in the event on Sunday. “The event is not limited to lovers and couples alone, even families are welcome. But if a husband and wife decide to get private we cannot refuse them the space. We must accept we are a changing society,” a KOL campaigner said.
The KOL members have also appealed to the police to look at the provisions of obscenity laws in the changing times. “Our culture is a composite and evolving one. Let us not get buried in the past,” says Vijayan.