Artists and activists protest moral policing by Kerala police

moral- policing- in -kerala

Volunteers of VIBGYOR international film festival arrested by Thrissur police and beaten up for the ‘crime’ of awaiting transport after attending a music concert while Hindutva activists who violently disrupted a screening of a film on Kashmir go scot-free

By Team FI
Several artists, civil rights activists and feminists in Kerala have come forward condemning the brutal police attack on five volunteers of the annual VIBGYOR International Film Festival, held in Thrissur last week.

The five VIBGYOR volunteers, one woman and four men were picked up by a police team headed by Sub Inspector Lal Kumar of the Thrissur East police station when they were waiting for auto rickshaws after attending a music concert. The volunteers were not only detained at the Thrissur East police station but also physically attacked. According to activists, the young woman, who is a cinematographer was attacked by the male police and subjected to sexual verbal abuse.

A woman lawyer, Asha, who went to the police station with her son and minor daughter after the young woman cinematographer sought legal help on phone, was also beaten up by the police. Asha, her daughter and the young woman has been hospitalized, according to sources

The four young men are still in police custody. Activists allege that Sub Inspector Lal Kumar, is in hands with the right wing political forces and did nothing when RSS activists tried to stop the screening of a film on Kashmir. In fact the RSS activists who tore the posters of the film and threatened the organisers of VIBGYOR were allowed to walk free whereas the volunteers were arrested for standing on the road while they waited for transport. The same police led by Lal Kumar had earlier tried to stop artists from performing the localised version of Eve Einsler’s Vagina Monologues, stating that its content was immoral.

There is an alarming increase in the number of incidents of moral policing by both police forces and right wing political parties in Kerala, a state that once known as the most progressive states in India.

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