news Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute| October 23, 2014| 7.00 pm IST A group of Yuva Morcha activists marched into a coffee shop in Calicut on Thursday afternoon, and vandalized much of the café-cum-restaurant’s property. They smashed windows, furniture and almost everything inside the cafe, claiming that they were "forced to react" against "immoral activities" in public places.  The coffee shop named Down Town, which opened just nine months ago in 4th gate, Calicut, has incurred major losses from the vandalism, orchestrated by the BJP's youth wing. According to reports, the incident occurred after Malayalam TV channel Jai Hind ran an "investigative" news report showing footage of couples engaging in "immoral" and illegal activities, but did not substantiate its claims. As evidence of "immoral activities", the channel kept re-playing visuals of a couple kissing, but produced no other substantiation of drugs which they claimed was being distributed in the cafe. The report claimed that the café was luring youngsters with various sops. According to the reporter, free wifi option was the sop to lure youngsters who would then end up engaging in immoral activities. The channel kept showing visuals of a young couple kissing (immoral, they labelled it), then visuals of students sitting on tables with what looked like beer mugs and a couple sitting holding an umbrella.  The channel also said that the cafe was a breeding ground for several illegal activities like drug trade, but no visuals were provided to support those claims.  The coffee shop is situated near several educational institutions including NIT and IIM, and students happen to be regular customers in the café. A reporter from another media organisation in Kerala told The News Minute that the cafe’s neighbourhood had never before registered any complaint against it. The parking has an open space with seating arrangements and does not have any ‘dark’ areas, as mentioned in Jai Hind’s report and alleged by protesters. “There are many restaurants in Calicut where such activities take place. We had complained to the police regarding this many times. But they did not react. So we were forced to react against this. We won’t allow any immoral activities in public, if they want, they can do it in private. We believe that it is our duty to protect our culture. We are not against any individual freedom, but this freedom should not be used in public places” said Prakash Babu, Yuva Morcha president who led the attack in the café. When asked him if smooching was "immoral" Babu said, "We are not opposing such activities. But we will oppose if people do it in public areas." If the BJP's Yuva Morcha were happy to destroy the cafe, the Congress had no qualms supporting the Morcha's actions. Bindu Krishna, president of Kerala State Mahila Congress, told Jai Hind TV that 'such' immoral activities are threatening Kerala’s culture and tradition. Stating that the incident captured at the café was highly objectionable, she called the protests by the Yuva Morcha a 'natural reaction'. She even asked all political parties to come together and fight against these immoral activities. Jai Hind also ran another story warning couples engaging in public display of affection, saying that once their visuals were captured, they would remain on the internet forever. Maybe, the channel forgot that the visuals they took of a couple will also remain on the internet 'forever'.

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