Couples celebrate Valentine's Day, radicals play spoilsport

Lovers chased away from parks, rotten tomatoes thrown at them on Valentine's Day.

New Delhi: Radical groups played spoilsport in Valentine's Day celebrations on Thursday in some parts of the country, from throwing rotten tomatoes at couples to chasing them away from parks, but it did not deter Cupid-struck people from marking the day dedicated to love with enthusiasm.

Red, the symbolic colour of love, was the theme at many restaurants and food joints, and youngsters thronged parks and gardens to celebrate the moments with their special ones.

In Delhi, rains and overcast skies provided a perfect backdrop for the young and old to display their affection for their loved ones.

Braving rainy and chilly weather, over 5000 people, mostly young couples visited the Garden of Five Senses here at a floral festival that was inaugurated on Friday, coinciding with the day marked for love in the calendar.

Heart-shaped flowers and red and pink balloons could be seen festooned at coffee houses and themed restaurants while While hi-end eateries claimed they were chock-a-block with lunch and dinner reservations.

Senior citizens celebrating Valentine's Day at Shivaji Park in Mumbai on Friday - PTI

And, while the national capital saw the day passing off peacefully, celebrations in other parts of the country were marred by disruptive activities from radical groups.

In Ahmedabad, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists threw rotten tomatoes at couples celebrating the occasion on the banks of Sabarmati river there, calling Valentine's Day as an 'obscene celebration'. Hundreds of couples were present at the Sabarmati riverfront Friday morning to celebrate Valentine's Day.

"There is nothing wrong in imbibing positive aspects of western culture, but VHP and Bajrang Dal are against obscenity in the name of westernisation. Valentine's Day is one such obscene celebration," Bajrang Dal city president Jwalit Mehta said.

Bajrang Dal activists burned an effigy in Hyderabad protesting against the celebrations.

In Srinagar, radical women's outfit Dukhtaran-e-Milat Chief Asiya Andrabi and her three colleagues were detained by police here while carrying out an anti-Valentine's day drive.

In industrial city Jamshedpur, a group of persons chased away lovers assembled at the famous Jubilee Park there and made a bonfire of Valentine's Day greeting cards before being rounded up by the police.

The protests took a rather bizarre turn when a few workers of Hindu Munnani performed the marriage of a goat with a dog in Ooty.

Describing the Valentine's Day celebrations as amounting to denigrating the culture and blindly following the customs of the West, the workers made both the goat and dog exchange garlands in front of a temple here.

Marking the day in Kolkata, around 70 women from red-light areas of Sonagachi and Munshiganj took out a procession on a two-kilometre stretch in Khidirpore as part of the global One Billion Rising campaign to end violence against women and promote gender equality.

But, youngsters in Aizwal showed their enthusiasm for the day in a different manner by volunteering to donate blood as a way of celebrating the festival of love.

At least 655 people, mostly youngsters, donated blood in the north-eastern city and southern town of Lunglei, Lalbiakthanga Pachuau, president of the Association for Voluntary Blood Donation of Mizoram (AVBDM) said.

Pachuau said that mass blood donation camp called 'Blood for your Valentine' was organised by the AVBDM in Aizawl, Lunglei, other six district headquarters and big towns.

Ruchira Gupta, founder of anti-trafficking organisation Apne Aap Women Worldwide describing describing the protests in Kolkata said, "Most of the girls participating are daughters of women in prostitution, or are victims themselves. Few of them, have survived the wrath of trafficking and rape."

Prostitutes and their daughters also took part in street plays and dances in and around the red-light area marking the Day, Gupta said.

Next: Rains, clouds add to Valentine's Day spirit in Delhi

Rains, clouds add to Valentine's Day spirit in Delhi

New Delhi: It was a day tailor-made for love in the national capital with intermittent rains and a cloud cover providing a perfect backdrop for the young and old to display their affection for their loved ones on Valentine's Day.

Cupid-struck couples roamed the streets, exchanged gifts, roses and thronged cinema halls and other popular hangouts. Red, the colour of love, was the theme at many restaurants and joints which had made special arrangements for youngsters, who were seen making a beeline in front of these outlets.

Some leading online portals like Snapdeal, Fashion and You, Jabonng, Myntra were offering deals on clothes, jewellery, cosmetics and shoes, keeping couples in mind. While hi-end restaurants claimed they were chock-a-block for lunch and dinner, a huge crowd of couples was seen at Central Park in CP, one of the hangout zones in Delhi.

While florists worked through the night preparing heart-shaped bouquets for the day, gift shops and restaurants prepared special deals and packages. SPAs and salons also offered pampering sessions for couples on discounted prices.

The price of roses, especially the red ones shot up as florists rake in the moolah due to the high demand.

"A red rose usually costs Rs 10-15 but today it was priced at Rs 80 or even more," said Abhay Kumar, a student.

Some professionals, however, had a tough time with the Valentine's Day falling on a working day. The celebrations were postponed to the evening for such people.

"I have a busy schedule today. I had some important meetings throughout the day. Will be meeting my boyfriend for dinner," said Rishita Banerjee, a banker.

To ensure no untoward incidents take place, police had made elaborate arrangements to thwart any attempt of moral policing in the city by Right-wing outfits. No major incident was reported from any part of the city.

"We are not for moral policing. We will not allow anyone to take law in their hands. We have deployed adequate number of police to ensure that there is no violence and harassment of couples," a senior police official said.

Next: Students clash in Pakistani university over Valentine's Day

Students clash in Pakistani university over Valentine's Day

Peshawar: A clash between two groups of students over the celebration of Valentine's Day in this restive northwestern Pakistani city on Friday left at least one person injured and damaged the hostel of a university.

Members of the students' wings of the radical Jamaat-e- Islami and the secular-leaning Awami National Party (ANP) opened fire during the clash in Peshawar University, the varsity's spokesman said.

"Luckily no one was killed and one student sustained minor injuries," he said. A number of rooms in the hostel were set on fire during the clash.

The university's administration was forced to call in police to control the situation. Members of the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), the Jamaat's students' wing, pelted stones at the policemen.

The Pukhtoon Students Federation (PSF), part of the ANP, wanted to celebrate Valentine’s Day while the IJT decided to observe 'Haya Day' (modesty day). The university constituted a committee to probe the incident and submit a report to the administration.

( Source : PTI )
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