news Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 05:30
Anisha Sheth | The News Minute | November 27, 2014 | 12.50 pm IST The supporters and critics of the Kiss of Love event in Bangalore, appear to be more articulate about the idea of a Kiss of Love protest than the organizers of the Bangalore event. While supporters and critics have been shouting themselves hoarse about the event, the organizers have been notoriously hard to reach, and surprisingly have little clarity about what the event is or should be. For days, there has been much debate about the event, with people forming ranks either in support or against. Then there are some who support the event but think that the organizers should call it off because the police have denied permission. However, despite the police denying permission, the organisers have decided to go ahead with the event in Bangalore are even prepared to go to jail, for an event that is “not a kissing contest”. Speaking to The News Minute on Thursday, after days of making attempts to get in touch with the organizers, spokesperson for the Bangalore event Vijayan Kallil said that they were a group of six people including people with NGO backgrounds, and IT professionals who had stepped in after the original organizer Rachita Taneja withdrew due to threats. She is now in her home town, Kallil says. Asked how the organizers conceptualized the event when the police had denied permission on grounds of “obscenity” under Section 294A of the IPC, Kallil said that there was a misconception about the event. “There are different layers (of protest). The intention is not just (to kiss). It is not a kissing contest. It is a solidarity march and it might or might not involve kissing. We cannot stop people from kissing.” Asked where the march would begin and end, he said “That we will tell you exactly where it will go later.” The event is to take place at Town Hall on November 30. When asked that if the organizers did not envision a kiss as a part of an event called Kiss of Love, would it not have made the purpose of the Bangalore event more clear if it was named something else, Kallil did not answer the question, but said: “We want a debate on what is obscenity. We all want answers on what is obscenity and vulgarity. We belong to a demographic group called the millenials (people of a new generation). The way millenials approach relationships is different.” He said that the idea was to “kickstart a debate and discussion” on what obscenity was. Asked if they would accept support from other groups, and Kallil said that they had had meetings with representatives of groups last Saturday. He also said that the organizers wished to continue the protest in the form of future symposiums and seminars and that they required the support of NGOs for such “interventions”. Asked what made the group decide to take up the protest, Kallil said that they wanted to protest against “fascist elements and moral police”. He said he hoped that the protest would “inspire” others to question moral policing and infringement of personal rights.  To a question on the possibility of arrest, Kallil said that they were prepared for it if it occurred. They also said that they were dealing well with the abuse and that "Men jeered at things they did not understand. It is not a kissing contest. If a husband wants to kiss his wife or a father wants to kiss his daughter, we (organisers) cannot stop them."
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