'It was not kissing fest, why a case of obscenity?' asks Arundhathi, student of Hyderabad University
news Friday, November 07, 2014 - 05:30
Monalisa Das | The News Minute | November 7, 2014 | 02:56 pm IST "The Kiss of Love event was not a kissing fest, like a section of the media portrayed. We were there to oppose moral policing", said Arundhathi B Naluketti, a student in the University of Hyderabad (UoH), regarding the protest against moral policing held in the University premises. Arundhathi, hailing from Kerala is reportedly among five organisers of the event against whom an FIR has been filed for 'obscenity' by the Gachibowli police in Hyderabad. The students had 'kissed publicly' during the event following which the University lodged a complaint in the police. A protest against moral policing, the Kiss of Love campaign emerged in Kerala, and since then has been conducted in a few other states in the country. The event has witnessed a lot of protests from sections that seem to consider public display of affection as an 'anti-Indian culture'. Though Arundhathi is a member of the Student's Federation of India, she maintains the protests were part of a student collaboration. "We had planned the event as an academic discussion where we had also invited our professors. We wanted to discuss the issue of moral policing which is rampant in the country today- how it is not specific to just Kerala, or for that matter not specific to any particular religion", she asserted. ( Arundhathi B Nalukettil ) Giving her account of the event she said, "Like a lot of media portrayed it, the event was not a kissing fest. The BJYM and ABVP activists entered the campus protesting against our campaign and shouted slogans like 'Besharam' (shameless) and 'Campus Choro' (Leave the campus). We were not expecting such a reaction. People were provoked following which students hugged and kiss each other", she said. She also expressed her displeasure at the way the media reported on the event and at the 'voyeurism of TV channels'. 'Instead of reporting on the entire event, they ran two minute footage of students kissing and said that it is all that happened in the campaign". The police too, Arundhathi felt, were not understanding. She claimed that around 350 students had participated in the event and the number of protesters who came from outside were just 50. "And yet the police asked us to stop the programme instead of asking the activists to leave", she said. Maintaining that the students had 'committed no crime', she said they were 'fighting for our fundamental rights- of freedom of speech and expression'. She also made a pertinent point. "Those moral policing say kissing is against Indian culture. Can they explain what is Indian culture exactly? We are a diverse nation and there is no dominant culture which can be imposed on us. They say kissing is not Indian, so the depictions of Khajuraho, the Kamasutra, aren't they part of the Indian culture? They are just misrepresenting our culture". ( Kiss of Love organised in Kolkata ) In spite of the cases filed against some organisers, the common sentiment among them seems to be one of 'a big achievement'. "We have been criticised severely, but the good point is people are noticing it. They are talking about it and no one can ignore it. Other Universities have also followed us- the Jadavpur University students recently hosted a Kiss of Love event, so did the Pondicherry Central University", stated Arundhathi. The Kiss of Love event was organised by a group in Kerala after an incident where Yuva Morcha activists vandalised a cafe claiming youngsters engaged in immoral activities there.