India police oppose Kerala ‘kiss of love’ protest


Police in the southern Indian state of Kerala say they will not allow couples to kiss in public to protest against alleged harassment by Hindu groups.

The “kiss of love” protest was planned after Hindu activists vandalised a cafe in Calicut city last week saying students were using the place to date.

Activists say they will gather at the Marine Drive in Kochi (formerly Cochin) city on Sunday and kiss in protest.

Dating and public displays of affection are still largely taboo in India.

“A formal request for permission [to hold the protest] is yet to reach me,” Kochi Police Commissioner KG James told the BBC.

“But I have told them they cannot kiss publicly and create a law and order situation. We are not going to allow this,” he added.

The organisers of the protest, however, say they are going ahead with the arrangement for an “informal gathering” despite the warning.

They say they expect at least 250 couples to gather with placards and assert their right to “hug and kiss”.

Their Facebook page launched five days ago has more than 18,000 endorsements and their supporters include writers, documentary filmmakers and activists.

The “kiss of love” protest has been opposed by both hardline Hindu and Muslim groups in Kerala who say the event is against Indian culture.

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