Amid heavy protest moves ‘Kiss Fest’ fails to take off, Police take into custody organisers and agitators

Sunday, Nov 2, 2014,20:30 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Kochi | The muchhyped ‘Kiss of Love’ event here today, failed to take off as police detained the organisers and sympathisers, including women, even before they could reach the venue of the symbolic protest against moral policing. In a change of plan at the last moment, the organisers of the event, holding placards, decided to take out a march from the Law College to the venue, which was overflowing with curious onlookers from different parts of the state.
Just as the march began at around 4 pm, the police team led by DCP (Law and Order), R Nishantini, took the organisers and sympathisers, numbering around 30, into custody and bundled them into a police van as they raised slogans against moral policing. They have been taken to Thevara police station, police said. At the Marine Drive grounds, the original venue of the controversial event, also there was a heavy police presence as they kept a hawks eye at any trouble makers. The organisers had expected nearly 1,000 people to turn up for the event, but the media hype generated saw the area overflowing with people, curious to see the unique protest and those against the event.
Onlookers said police used lathis and pepper spray to chase them away. Some of them fell down, some got hit with lathis and were injured. A cameraman of a television channel was among those injured. Despite the event turning into a damp squib, some of the pro’Kiss of Love’ activists, raised slogans saying ‘Kiss fest zindabad’ even as police were seen chasing away people at the Marine drive grounds.
Activists of the Shiv Sena, district unit of Kerala Students Union and a Muslim outfit took out marches against the event, organised by the ‘Free Thinkers’, a group of social networking website Facebook users against a recent moral policing incident at a restaurant in Kozhikode. While initially the event was a call to people to come to Marine Drive and hug and kiss each other, the organisers had clarified yesterday that it was not a kiss fest but a gathering of likeminded people to raise awareness against moral policing. They said they would next focus on creating awareness about the deadly AIDS.