Protesters in India, chose to kiss instead of throwing stones to protest moral policing that is rampant in India. The protests were held in Kochi on Sunday 2nd November, dubbed the “Kiss of Love” movement with the aim of bringing change to the rigid society in India.
It was a protest held to bring attention to the conservative nature of India’s society where the general public does not tolerate public display of affection. The protests were organized over social media with participants making arrangements on Facebook.
The morning of the protest saw many gathered on the busy streets of Kochi, which is the largest city in the state of Kerela. Despite the peaceful message of the protests, the participants were met with lots of opposition from right wing extremists and conservatives especially from religious organizations uniting Muslims and Hindus in favor of moral policing.
In fact, the protesters were amazed by how many people were in attendance but the situation soon became volatile as the conservatives turned into an angry mob. One protester mentioned, “Many people were holding sticks, iron rods, and stones. We were shocked – they were ready to kill!”
Another demonstrator noted, “These moral police come from all religions and backgrounds they even include women. This mentality is ingrained in our patriarchal society. Everyone has experienced moral policing at least once in their lifetime, even if they’re walking with their spouse or their sibling.”
Because of the risky nature of the protests, the police quickly arrested the protesters to protect them against the angry mob. A protestor recalls, “They said they wanted to protect us, which was nice, but they should never have let all these armed people gather in the first place. Not to mention that they didn’t arrest any of them, even though after our arrest, some of our supporters got beaten up. The number of police officers sent to the scene was clearly insufficient and they failed in their duties.”
The situation did not dampen the spirits of the demonstrators as they continued to kiss while in the custody of the police and even while in jail. Protests in solidarity with the demonstration in Kochi were held in Hyderabad as well as in Mumbai.
The protest is a step towards the right direction where many will soon have the freedom to hold hands and even kiss without feeling scrutinized for the expression of their love.
What is your opinion on public displays of affection?