Kerala version of ‘pink chaddi’

Kozhikode, October 29: Today’s generation surely knows how to make their voice heard. The massive uprising in Delhi against the rape of a young woman that made international headlines is but a glimpse of the immense strength that they can together, showcase. However the politicians of the day can only learn it the hard way. The so called moral policing continues and the likes of Muthalik continue to make outrageous comments that question the fundamental rights of Indians.

The attack on a coffee shop at Kozhikode by BJP youth wing activists on October 23 stands as another example of how the so called guardians of Indian morals take law into their hands. The coffee shop in the vicinity of prestigious institutions like NIT and IIM, that opened recently, Down Town, is a regular hangout for young students. The genesis of the issue is a Malayalam TV channel, Jai Hind’s investigative news report (that leaves much to be desired as far as investigation is concerned) on the café. The clipping of kissing couple was repeatedly shown and several allegations like the café being a hub of illegal activities, drugs being sold etc, were made without any supporting proof. The channel even said that the café was luring youngsters with sops like providing free wifi.

A group of Yuva Morcha activists marched into the café cum restaurant on Thursday afternoon, and vandalized much of the property. They smashed windows, furniture and almost everything inside the cafe, claiming that they were “forced to react” against “immoral activities” in public places.

“There are many restaurants in Calicut where such activities take place. We had complained to the police regarding this many times. But they did not react. So we were forced to react against this. We won’t allow any immoral activities in public, if they want, they can do it in private. We believe that it is our duty to protect our culture. We are not against any individual freedom, but this freedom should not be used in public places” Prakash Babu, Yuva Morcha president who led the attack in the café, justified his actions.

And it is not just BJP’s Yuva Morcha;  Bindu Krishna, president of Kerala State Mahila Congress, told Jai Hind TV that ‘such’ immoral activities are threatening Kerala’s culture and tradition. Stating that the incident captured at the café was highly objectionable, she called the action of Yuva Morcha, a ‘natural reaction’.

As a protest against the attack and to proclaim their right to express freedom of love, a group of youngsters decided to observe ‘Kiss Day’ in the port city on November 2. They were obviously denied permission to go ahead with the kissing drive, but that doesn’t deter them. They already have a facebook page “Kiss of Love’ that has over 10,000 likes. And they have decided to go ahead with their plan.

“We can’t prevent people from assembling. But if it creates a law and order problem and traffic snarls we will arrest and remove them from the spot,” said Kochi deputy commissioner Nishanthini. The Viswa Hindu Parishad and Yuva Morcha said they would not disrupt the function.

The organizers said their aim was not to target any political party or group but to draw attention to the fact that it was not acceptable to intrude into some one’s privacy citing flimsy moral reasons. “Criminalization of affection and love is really bad. The attack against the coffee shop was just a trigger. Sadly this tendency is growing everywhere,” said S Rahul, one of the organizers.

This comes across as Kerala’s version of ‘Pink Chaddi’ campaign (Women had sent pink inner wear to Sree Ram Sena leader Pramod Muthalik as a protest against an attack on youngsters in Mangalore). However; will the self-proclaimed moral police in India, ever learn their lesson?

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