Moral policing rears its ugly head in Kochi again

‘Cleansing’ act: Activists of a Hindu radical outfit beating up couples with canes in Kochi on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Just about two-and-a-half year after Marine Drive witnessed the ‘Kiss of Love’ campaign that captured the imagination of the entire country, a group owing allegiance to Shiv Sena ran riot on the same venue on Wednesday.

They cane-charged and chased away young couples even as the police stood as mute spectators. The episode started unfolding around 3.30 p.m. when 25-odd members of the saffron brigade staged a march to the Abdul Kalam Marg of the Marine Drive and humiliated couples in a bid to keep the area ‘pure.’

They were protesting against the Marine Drive allegedly being turned into a breeding ground for several sex-trade rackets eyeing to draw young girls into flesh trade.

‘‘The campaign takes a cue from the reports of a rise in sexual assault cases against women. Even schoolchildren are often found showing off romantic intimacy at this location,’’ said a senior Shiv Sena leader, adding that the party would continue the campaign in the coming days as well.

As the ‘moral police’ unleashed attack on a few couples who were reluctant to disperse, about 20 other couples present at the spot fled in scare. ‘‘Some of the couples were seen pleading to let them go. But the group abused some of the females and cane-charged them,’’ said an eyewitness.

The protesters were unperturbed by the presence of a strong media contingent and showed no remorse or guilt for indulging in self-proclaimed moral policing. Some of them even interacted with journalists present at the location.

The protesters managed to scare away the youths despite the presence of a police team led by sub inspector Vijay Shankar from the Ernakulam central station. Allegations were being raised against the police inaction.

Later, the police took six persons into custody in connection with the incident and booked them under non-bailable charges for assault and obstructing government servants from discharging their duty.

The arrested were identified as T.R. Devan, chairman of the State political affairs committee, Shiv Sena, and K.Y. Kunjumon, K.U. Ratheesh, A.V. Vineesh, T.R. Lenin and K.K. Liju, all members of the party’s Ernakulam district unit.

‘‘The police intelligence wing had prior information about the ‘moral police’ drive and even dispersed the couples who were sitting along the walkway earlier in the afternoon,’’ official sources said.

Commenting on the issue, M.P. Dinesh, Commissioner of Police, Kochi city, said the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Special Branch, had been directed to probe the alleged police inaction and file a report.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 4:51:51 PM |

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