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Kiss Of Love: Rebels With A Cause
Numerous opinions - some supporting, others opposing, while some questioning intentions. Yet everyone agrees that the fanatics need not do the job of the authorities | Aathira Haridas
On Nov 01, 2014

A fanatic mob of a right wing political party vandalised a restaurant, attacked the owners and justified their stand with an excuse that they revolted since the police refused to intervene and take action against the hotel which ‘perpetuated’ obscenity.
 
It was this recent vandalism that was the final nail on the coffin. A determined group of youngsters decided to protest against this act of moral policing and thus was born the ‘Kiss of Love’ campaign.
 
Farmis Hashim and Arun Pashupalan were part of a Facebook forum named ‘free thinkers’ where they used to have endless discussions on social issues. Following a private channel’s ‘exclusive video’ on the ransacking of the Down Town hotel, Farmis suggested to retort against such acts by holding a protest and Arun carried forward his idea. Thus was born the ‘Kiss of Love’ event and its Facebook page. Soon the page went viral.
 


“There are plenty of instances when husbands and wives were beaten up by the so called moral police. This has to change. Ours is a step towards this goal. Some people have misunderstood that we are planning a festival for kissing or you could come there and plant kisses or get kissed for free,” Explains Farmis. He continues, “Kiss of Love is also not restricted to couples. We welcome anyone who is capable of loving one another and would like to express that in public. With this gesture we would like to send a strong message to social elements who indulge in moral fascism and moral policing.”
 
“With the support we have garnered so far I must say that we aren’t a minority and it shows that as a community we have reached the tipping point of being policed,” he adds.
 
The society is divided on this whole new way of protesting. “From what I understand the protest isn’t for freedom to kiss in public but should be treated just as a protest against the moral policing. For instance when Manipuri women took to the Assam Rifles base naked protesting against the rape of Manorama Devi it was an extreme way of protesting to bring across a point. None saw obscenity in that. Similarly this should just be treated as a means of protest,” says Anjana Mohan an IT professional residing at Kochi.


The Kochi police have retracted the permission it gave to conduct the protest. “The reason they did is in view of the - law and order in the area getting compromised. But we are going ahead come what may,” says a determined Farmis. “This is not a protest for the right to kiss in public places but rather one against moral policing,” he emphasizes.
 
“I am totally against moral policing. But I don’t support this ‘kiss of love’ campaign as the intention of this event isn’t clear. There have been several grievous socio political issues that required the intervention of the youth but they never reacted and now all of a sudden when they campaign using this as a means of protest I doubt whether such a method of protest would give the desired result of keeping moral policing at bay,” says Annapoorna Lekha Pillai, journalist and advocate.
 
The campaign has its supporters too. “I totally agree with this campaign. This is a grievous issue and we needn’t put up with such criminal activities. Moreover anyone, who is a major, has the right to make a choice and none can dictate whom they should walk with, what they should wear as all these amount to moral policing,” says Niliya Venugopal, Bimblotica’s vocalist.
 
Within days the campaign has got received state-wide support with several political factions and personalities openly voicing their support. Several opinions from several sections, some supporting, others opposing vehemently with some citing culture, while some question the intentions. But everyone agrees to end the absolute free will enjoyed by these fanatics to police the public.
 
This Sunday, the Kochi Marine Drive will wake up to something new. The state’s gen Y, perhaps for the first time, is about to wield their power. The same group that would passively sit through a hartal is not taking this lying down. Whatever happens, whether people kiss or get lathi-charged, this Sunday would be remembered in Kerala’s history as a red lipped day!

 

 
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