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'Kiss of Love' organisers, sympathisers taken into preventive custody

Kiss of Love organisers, sympathisers taken into preventive custody

Kochi: Organisers and sympathisers of the controversial 'Kiss of Love' event were Sunday evening taken into preventive custody as they tried to march to the Marine drive grounds, venue of the symbolic protest against moral policing.

The organisers tried to take out a march from Ernakulam Law college to the venue, but were prevented from doing so. About 50 persons were taken into custody.

Holding placards and raising slogans against moral policing, the protestors were bundled into a police van.

They were let off late in the evening.

A strong police contingent was posted at the Marine Drive Grounds to keep a lookout for potential 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.

In a last minute change, the organisers tried to take out a march from the Ernakulam law college at around 4.30 p.m to reach the Marine drive grounds, when they were stopped by police and taken into custody.

The programme scheduled earlier was that the event would be held at the grounds at 5 p.m.

Holding placards and banners, those against the 'Kiss of Love', including Shiv Sena, district unit of Kerala Students Union and a Muslim outfit took out marches against the event, organised by 'Free Thinkers', a group of social networking website Facebook users against a moral policing incident at Kozhikode.

"This 'Kiss fest' is against Kerala culture and should not be allowed," said a man who had come to witness the protest while another extended his support to the organisers.

Police also chased away the large gathering of youngsters at the Marine Drive grounds. People ran helter skelter and some fell down in the melee.

A cameraman of a television channel was injured.

Thousands had gathered at the venue since afternoon to witness the event.

The district unit of Kerala Students Union took out a march to the High Court and held a cultural gathering against moral policing, which was addressed by writer M Leelavthy.

The organisers had clarified yesterday that the event was "not a kiss fest" but a gathering of like-minded people to raise awareness against moral policing and that they would next focus on creating awareness about AIDS.

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