Tag Archive for Kiss of love protest

Kiss Of Love supporters issue statement on Rahul Pasupalan and Resmi Nair arrest

Kiss_of_Love_kerala

After the arrest of Rahul Pasupalan and his wife Resmi Nair, who were active members of Kiss Of love protests, over sex trafficking charges, supporters and organisers of Kiss of Love campaign, disassociating their connection with the duo, put forward their opinion about the event in the form of an open letter to the public

Kiss Of Love completed one year on November 2nd with the first Kiss of Love organised at Kochi Marine Drive last year challenging the cultural moral policing and violence unleashed on people. It is the realisation that the attack on the Down Town Hotel in Calicut was was an attempt to recreate the violent model of attack that Sangh Parivar forces have been unleashing in Mangalore and Bangalore. Several individuals, universities and organisations embraced and organised it in various places in Kerala and several parts of the country such as Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Trivandrum, Calicut, Alapuzha, etc. It also created a network of people who endorsed and participated in several progressive movements and protests henceforth. Most of the members have been verbally abused online, threatened in person and vilified in TV discussions, but the movement and its members have slowly and steadily been able to make a space for discussion and debate to voice their progressive stands through online spaces, alternate news portals and holding public meetings.

The latest assault on the Kiss Of Love (KOL) movement, the last in the long list of assaults against its activists over the past one year in Kerala. It involves the arrest of KOL activist, Rahul Pasupalan and his wife Resmi Nair, over sex trafficking charges. Under these circumstances, as people who have been active members of the KOL, we think it is important to bring to your attention to a few facts with regard to KOL and the recent controversy.

1. KOL is not a movement which was executed with any official leadership. There are no full time KOL activists or an official committee to review and take a disciplinary action or suspend a supporter from the movement if they act against the ideology of the movement. It does not keep a tab on their personal activities or political affiliations of its supporters, but surely there is social auditing.

It was the media that projected the couple as ‘leading spokespersons’, and baptised them as Chumbana Samara nayakan and nayika and made them icons of the Kiss Of Love movement

It is the voyeuristic tendencies of the media that reduced KOL to these two individuals who are involved in the modeling and filmmaking profession. In the past months, both in the issue of Cherian Phillip’s misogynist comments Rahul Pasupalan had revealed himself to be totally opposed to the spirit of the KOL. Several people involved have questioned his statements and openly challenged his refusal to withdraw his statements. Ignoring these developments, the media has consistently and systematically equated Rahul Pashupalan with KOL in all its reports. This is a clear indication that media wanted malign the credibility and ruin the relevance of KOL which has emerged as a strong threat to right wing fundamentalist forces. However this media bombardment is just the last in a long line of assaults we have suffered over the last year. We have weathered them, and we will weather this too.

It is also important to state that the case against the two has been registered only on 18-11.2015 (two days back) and it is not appropriate to assume them to be guilty already. We demand that they receive a fair trial and if they are found guilty, they must be punished as per law. Proclaiming them guilty before that is illegal and unethical.

2. There is no common position on sex work in KOL though all of us are against pedophilia and many of us have worked to report such pages, including the one mentioned in the case: Kochu Sundarikal. As has been mentioned in many reports, those who have reported the page and helped the police are also individuals who are involved with KOL. Why is it that the media is doing this selective reporting and ignoring the positive involvement of the movement in bringing the pedophile racket to the eyes of law?

3. The rising intolerance and violence unleashed on people who assert human and constitutional rights make movements like KOL the need of the hour. KOL has been able to create a collective of individuals who question, oppose and resist the prevalent norms of patriarchal society and the right wing agenda of those in power. The effective use of social media space to circulate the news that the mainstream media ignores and blacks out is another threat to the fascist forces. It also saw some of the members coordinating and involving in various progressive movements and protests ranging from Catch the Pamba Bus, Aarthavasamaram, Kalyan Sarees Irikkal Samaram, entevaka500, forabetterFB campaign, Queer Pride March, Munnar Penpillaiorumai, etc. Thus the emergence of such a powerful counter voice threatens both those in power and the proponents of cultural morality. Hence it is their combined necessity that such progressive movements be countered and crushed. Misogyny, sexual conservatism, gender inequality, and such interrelated evils are enduring structures and these cannot be undone with a few struggles. If KOL questioned and alarmed the carriers of these tendencies, it will continue to do so through several such struggles in the coming months.

We the undersigned, hereby endorse this statement. Kindly add your name, place and affiliation.

KR Meera, Writer, Kottayam
Tejaswini Niranjana, TISS, Mumbai
Kavita Krishnan, All India Progressive Women’s Association, Delhi
K Satchidanandan, New Delhi
Prem Chand, Mathrubhumi, Calicut
S Anand, Navayana
EP Unny, Cartoonist, Palakkad
Nivedita Menon, JNU, Delhi
Aditya Nigam, CSDS, New Delhi
Anjali Monteiro, Mumbai, Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
K P Jayasankar, Mumbai, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
C Gouridasan Nair, Journalist, Thiruvananthapuram.
Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Human Rights Activist, Mumbai
Jayan Cherian, Filmmaker, New York
Geeta Seshu, journalist, Mumbai.
Shahina Nafeesa, Open, Kochi
Devika J, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram
Aswathy Senan, Delhi University, Delhi
Arundhati B, Hyderabad Central University, Hyderabad
Shafeek Subaid Hakkim, Doolnews, Calicut
Jolly Chiriyath, Human Rights Activist, Kochi
Lasar Shine, Writer, Kochi
Bindu Menon, Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi
Adv Thushar Nirmal Sarathy, Janakeeya Manushyaavakaasha Prasthaanam, Kochi
Adv Nandini Sundar, Sthree Kootayma, Kochi
Najmal Babu(TN Joy), Social Activist, Thrissur.
Naveen Gaur, Delhi University, Delhi
Madhuresh, NAPM, Delhi
Shehla Rashid, Vice President, JNUSU, Delhi
Shweta Raj, Convener, JNUSU, Delhi
Mukesh Kulariya, Convener, JNUSU, Delhi
Rama Naga, General Secretary, JNUSU, Delhi
Geeta Kumari, GSCASH Student Rep, JNU
V Geetha, Writer, Chennai.
Nisha Susan, Journalist, Bangalore.
Shruthi Dileep, Kottayam, Kerala.
Bindulakshmi Pattadath, TISS, Mumbai
Deedi Damodaran, Script Writer, Calicut
Gowri Parameswaran, New York.
Lokesh Lucky, Sthree Mukti Sanghatan, Delhi
Gopika G G, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram
Anil Tharayath Verghese, Delhi Solidarity Group
Anitha Santhi, Tree Walk, Thiruvananthapuram.
Satyam Siddhartha Singh, Pune
Vineeth Chakyar, Filmmaker, Ernakulam
V J Varghese, University of Hyderabad
Padmanabhan J, Chennai, Tritan Leather
Shajahan Madampat, Dubai
Ravi Raman, Senior Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi
Rushabh Mohan Nair, Thiruvananthapuram.
K T Ram Mohan, School of Social Sciences, MGU, Kottayam.
Naveen CHander, NEw Socialist Initiative, Delhi
Suchismita Chattopadhyay, JNU/Shiv Nadar, Delhi
Aarathi G, Centre for Development Studies
Akhil C S, Centre for Development Studies
Padmanabhan J, Chennai, Tritan Leather Works
NP Ashley, St Stephen’s College, Delhi
Maya Leela, Researcher, Spain
Sriranjini R, Trivandrum
Najma Jose, Canada
Jerald Jose, Canada
Nanditha Mathew, Sant’ Anna School of Advanced Studies, Italy,
Vinaya Raghavan, Bangalore
Govind Krishnan, Fountain Ink, Bangalore
Jaljith, Trivandrum
Ardra, JNU, Delhi
Preetha GP, Thiruvalla
Arun Lal K, GAVC, Kannur
Premjish Achari, JNU, Delhi
Hagen De Sa, Goa
Inji Pennu, Global Voices, New York
Arya Thomas, Political Activist, Delhi
Themeem Thazhatheri, Hyderabad Central University
Benston John, St Stephen’s College, Delhi
Peter Ivan, Bangalore
Deepa Praveen, Criminologist, Wales
Bincy Y, Trivandrum
Syam Nath, Trivandrum
Ajin K Thomas, Malappuram
Jina Dcruz, Atlanta, USA
Avaneet Aravind, Bangalore
Avipsha Das, JNU, Delhi
Pratheesh Rani Prakash, Kollam
Jisha Josh, Pedestrian Pictures, Bengaluru
Aysha Mahmood, Calicut
Divya DV, Research Scholar, Government Law College, Ernakulam
Hemantika Singh, AISA, Delhi
Anand Vijayan, Bombay
Ullas TS, Kochi
Suhana Rashee, Punalur
Anumita Mitra, AIPWA, Kolkata
Binitha V Thampi, IIT Chennai
Rajashree R, Young India Fellow, Asoka University
Nisha Jayan, New York
Ajith Unnikrishna Pillai, Alappuzha
Seema Krishnakumar, Photographer, Coimbatore
Adv Rajif, KOzhikode
Delton, Human Rights Activist, KKozhikode
Ashwain Babu, HUman Rights Activist, Kozhikode
KP Lijukumar, Social Activist, Kozhikode
Nadi, Human Rights Activist, Kozhikode
Jasmine, Youth Dialogue, Kozhikode

Oh Darling…Kiss is India!

India-kiss-words

Parodevi Pictures has created a map of Indian kiss words, expressing solidarity with the Kiss of Love protest that took place in Kerala last Sunday. Kiss of love India Map

link to Parodevi Pictures

Kerala’s Kiss of Love protest goes viral

Kiss-of-love-protest-kerala

Kiss of Love Community calls for similar campaigns across universities, public spaces and cultural arenas to protest against the criminal activity of moral policing and cultural fascism

By Team FI

Even as right wing protestors and the Kerala police prevented the Kiss of Love campaigners to hold their ground in Marine Drive, Kochi, the idea behind it has snowballed beyond the state’s borders and Facebook boundaries with protests happening in Hyderabad, in IIT Bombay and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkatta. A similar scene to that of Kochi took place in University of Hyderabad where the Kiss of Love supporters were set upon by the police who ignored the right wing Hindu protestors on the scene. In IIT- Bombay, the Progressive and Democratic Students collective organised a march in solidarity with the Kiss of Love campaign.

Expressing solidarity with the Kerala protesters, the students of Jadavpur University are holding a Kiss of love protest in South Kolkata today. According to a press invite, students will form a human chain and march from the university premises with protest actions like “kissing, hugging, showering affection on each other” in public

Kiss of Love protest in Kerala
Last Sunday in Kochi, Kerala, two buffaloes in blond wigs, two Muslim right wing organisations, four Hindu right wing organisations, bunches of Kerala police and a large number of men hoping for a sight of kissing couples congregated on Marine Drive, The slogan shouting protestors, the buffaloes and the lathi wielding police were present; to prevent a youth campaign called the Kiss of Love – where participants would kiss, hug each other publicly as a protest against moral policing in Kerala.

The Kiss of Love event was planned and organised by the Kiss of Love community which was set up in October this year on the social media network Facebook through the efforts of an existing group on the network called the Freethinkers. The event was to take place on Marine Drive, Kochi, Kerala where the participants would express their love by kissing their partner or friend, to protest against ‘cultural fascism and moral policing’.

Moral policing in Kerala
The Facebook campaign came as a reaction to the various incidents of moral policing in the state of Kerala, which has the unique claim of being nearly hundred percent literate. In 2011, a 26-year-old youth was killed by a mob in a village in Kozhikode district for allegedly having an affair with a married woman. In the same year, a young software techie and her male friend were attacked by a group of goons while standing near a tea shop in Kochi. An event that caused much discussion in social media earlier this year, in June, was the case of a theatre artist and her male friend who were accosted by the police and held at the police station for the crime of travelling together on a motorcycle late at night.

In October, 2014, a Malayalam TV Channel, JaiHind TV, reported on Downtown Café in Kozhikode, pronouncing the café’s parking space as a ground of immoral activity. The footage showed a young couple who kissed and hugged each other. Following this, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha – the BJP youth wing, trounced the café, broke glass and the furniture. Filming the vandalism were television cameras (including that of JaiHind Tv who has at its helm, chief of the Kerala Congress V M Sudheeran) who were already on the spot, as per the police.

The Kiss of Love campaign was to protest such moral policing, which, as they stated (and corroborated by police circular put up on the Kiss of Love facebook page), is illegal and constitute a criminal activity. The campaign snowballed on Facebook and a huge media response was generated before the event itself.
On the day of the event, even as the members arrived on the scene of the protest,

Hindu and Muslim right wing organisations found common ground in defending their love for ‘cultural values’. Amongst those present were the Shiva Sena who turned out in huge numbers saying that the event was against Indian culture, would create ‘sexual anarchy’ and that it was a conspiracy of ‘love Jihad’.

Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists unite
The Hindu protestors included the usual suspects or defenders of Hindu culture – the ABVP, Bharatiya Yuva Morcha, the Bajrang Dal while the Muslim voices were that of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and Sunni Yuva Jana Sangham.

The Kiss of Love participants could barely manage to hold ground for some time and raise slogans before the violence began. The Kerala police decided to take in about 50 odd members in “preventive custody” while the Hindu and Muslim right wing organisations ran amok. There were also on the scene two buffaloes with blond wigs, which apparently represented western culture and immoral activities (brought by SDPI) but the police ignored them as well as the violent protestors or rather defenders of Indian culture.

The members of the Kiss of Love community managed to a few behind-the-bars kisses in the police van before they were whisked away. While some press reports have termed the event a failure, it has not failed to elicit sympathetic responses from students from across the country.

Facebook’s response
Both the Kiss of Love community and the Freethinkers Group on Facebook had their pages taken down by the Facebook administration because of mass reporting against it. As per Facebook admin, the Freethinkers Group was taken down because it violated certain community standards. The resurgent Group however continues its presence on the social media network.

The Kiss of Love Community put forward a press release stating the event to be successful, and expressing their gratitude to various sections of society that helped and supported them in the “movement against the fundamentalist and reactionary elements of this country who indulge in moral policing, which has been a major hindrance to peaceful living and individual freedom in India.”

The press release emphasized that the Kiss of Love community is not an organisation but a campaign which was joined by people from all walks of life and ideologies. “We are a group of people who respect the Indian Constitution and we only want to protest against injustices by being a part of the same Constitution, reads the press release. Wishing to decentralize its campaign, the Community has called for, “…the millennial generation to come forward and takeover our ideas and spread it in our Universities, cities, public spaces and in the cultural arena and make a difference.”

Featured photo by Mithun Vinod