Kochi: The way the city police handled the Kiss of Love protest evoked sharp criticism from a slew of social activists. “The police seemed to have joined hands with the forces opposing the event,” said poet Anawarali. “How can the police allow thousands of persons to assemble at the venue of the protest despite their open declaration that they would disrupt the event by any means,” he asked.
The police did a clever thing by allowing the activists of Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, Campus Front, SDPI and other groups to occupy the space at Marine Drive and deny access to the activists of Kiss of Love, said Mr T.N. Joy.
‘The police joined with the vigilante groups to thwart the democratic ways of protests by social activists,” he added.
The police were not employing such tactics for the first time, said advocate Thushar Nirmal Saradhy, a human rights activist. During the Vibgyor film festival in Thrissur last year they had allowed a group of Hindutva activists to enter the theatre complex to disrupt the screening of a film on Kashmir, he said. Although these activists created a ruckus, the police allowed them to go scot-free, he added.
But police officials in Kochi defended their action and said that they took the kissing activist into preventive custody to save them from the wrath of the people who came to oppose the event. On allowing a large number of people to assemble at Marine Drive, a police official said that it was not possible to seal the entry to a place open from all sides.