If their aim was to make a statement against moral policing, they certainly succeeded. The Kiss of Love event, held near the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) office on Saturday, had office-goers at Jhandewalan, metro commuters and passersby all take out a little time to find out why so many people had gathered in the narrow bylane next to the Jhandewalan metro station.
Kiss of Love, Delhi, is the third event of its kind in the country where people get together and publicly kiss and hug each other to protest against moral policing.
Other than two scuffles and heavy sloganeering, the event went off smoothly. Close to 300 people gathered in its support while around 50 gathered to oppose it.
Thursday’s event followed the controversial event in Kochi, where a number of participants were detained. The organizers in Delhi had made the RSS office its target but were stopped by police personnel who were present in large numbers outside the metro station.
A group of people from the Hindu Sena were present to protest against the event. As soon as the first couple kissed, members of the Hindu Sena charged towards them and roughed up a few participants.
As the crowd gathered at the metro station, calls for marching towards the RSS office grew louder. Asking participants to ignore the sloganeering by the Hindu Sena members, the organizer of the event, Pankhuree Zaheer, said: “We must not forget that our main aim is to speak out against moral policing and the propaganda of love jihad. Attacks on us have increased in the recent past. If they are entering our streets our universities and pubs, we will enter their space.”
The participants then moved towards the RSS office but were stopped by the police at the Rani Jhansi Chambery, near the RSS office. The event gained popularity on social networking site, Facebook where close to 1,600 people showed interest in attending it.
But in the end, a fraction turned up but succeeded in the efforts. While members of the Hindu Sena opposed the event, the participants hugged and kissed each other -- surrounded by a human chain to protect them.
Gaurab Ghosh, the first openly gay student to contest the JNU student union election, was roughed up by members of the Hindu Sena. “This is against our traditions.
We have nothing against modernity but don’t kiss on the streets. If the Supreme Court has said that there is nothing wrong in kissing in public, we don’t agree with it. This is wrong,” said Devendra Upadhyay, who opposed the event.
Participants were mostly students from JNU, Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia, National Law University and Ambedkar University.