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'Kiss of Love' protest held in Kochi against Shiv Sena's moral policing

Kiss of Love protest held in Kochi against Shiv Senas moral policing

Kochi: Dozens of volunteers of the 'Kiss of Love' movement on Thursday hugged and kissed each other at Marine Drive here as a mark of protest against the alleged act of moral policing by Shiv Sena activists.

The volunteers, including artists, writers, activists and transgenders from various parts of the state, converged at Marine Drive, where the Sena activists allegedly chased away young men and women on Wednesday.

Similar protests were held in different parts of the state, including at Thiruvananthapuram where the DYFI, the youth wing of the ruling CPI(M), took out a march.

The protesters performed street-plays, drew paintings, sang songs and raised slogans in the presence of a huge crowd, before hugging and kissing each other at Marine Drive, a picturesque promenade facing the backwaters here.

"We want to create a platform against moral policing," one of the activists told reporters.

The police, facing flak for failing to stop the Sena activists yesterday, had put in place a tight security at the protest venue to prevent any untoward incident.

The 'Kiss of Love' event was held following a group of people calling for the agitation on Facebook.

A large number of activists of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP, also assembled at Marine Drive, albeit at a different location. They raised slogans against the 'Kiss of Love' event as well as the alleged act of moral policing by the Shiv Sena.

The port city also witnessed several other protests staged by various youth and student outfits, including the DYFI, SFI, KSU and AIYF, against the alleged act of moral policing.

CPI(M) district secretary and former Rajya Sabha MP P Rajeev inaugurated the 'Sneha Irippu Samaram' (love sit-in protest), organised by the DYFI and SFI at Marine Drive.

AIYF activists, wielding canes, took out a protest march towards the Shiv Sena office here.

Meanwhile, the police said a central police sub-inspector was suspended for failing to stop the Shiv Sena activists yesterday, while eight police personnel, who were on duty at the time of the incident, were transferred to the Armed Reserve Police camp.

Six Shiv Sena activists have been arrested in connection with Wednesday's incident.

TV news channels had aired video footage of a group of Sena activists wielding sticks and chasing away young men and women from Marine Drive on Wednesday.

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