Kerala

Kiss of Love activists booked under POCSO

The Crime Branch on Monday indicted anti-moral policing Kiss of Love activist Rahul Pashupalan and his partner and model, Reshmi Nair, for “pairing off” underage girls with wealthy clients looking for paid sex.

In a chargesheet filed in a court here, the agency has booked the duo for violating the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

The agency had arrested them in 2015 after a month-long undercover operation, code-named ‘Operation Big Daddy’. The sting led by IG S. Sreejith had exposed an interstate network that arranged sex online for clients.

It initially focussed on an escort service pop-up advertisement that appeared on the Internet. The probe expanded in scope and gathered pace, resulting in the arrest of several persons, including procurers.

Progress of probe

Investigators had tapped into the online sex trafficking network by posing as well-heeled clients with individual preferences. They used social engineering technique to insinuate themselves into the confidence of the online sex racketeers.

The police soon received photographs on their mobile phones. The age of the women, the duration and nature of the service on offer determined the rate.

Counter-argument

The arrest of Rahul had caused a ripple in the social media. Many argued that Rahul was the victim of conservatives opposed to the physical expression of love between willing partners, including sexual minorities, in public places.

The police regarded the women caught in the racket as subjects of human trafficking. They counselled them and reunited them with their families. The victims of the sex racket included two underage sisters from Bengaluru. They hailed from a minority community and told the police that unknown persons had raped them at the behest of the racketeers. A medical examination later backed their testimony.

What the campaign was

Rahul and his wife had shot to Facebook fame in 2015 when they became overnight the symbols of a vast movement of youngsters against perceived moral policing tendencies in Kerala society.

The campaign saw hundreds, including LGBT communities, take to the street in large numbers to protect the freedom to express affection, which mature democracies took for granted.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 6:59:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kiss-of-love-activists-booked-under-pocso/article30383806.ece

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