Armed with brooms and threatening to chase away youngsters spending their evening at the beach, a group of 30 women led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stormed into the Konad beach at West Hill in Kerala’s Kozhikode on Thursday, February 8. The women called the moral policing a form of ‘protest’, officially inaugurated by West Hill BJP area committee general secretary Malini Santhosh, against the “immoral activities” they claimed were taking place at the beach.
“We are not against love, or sitting with your loved ones on the beach. But they should sit properly. I'm ashamed to say what the youth are doing at the beach these days. And this is what the children in the neighbourhood are growing up watching. Many children play at the beach area and when they come back home, they tell their parents what they saw there. This has caused great difficulty to residents. So it was the mothers of the area who came to the beach with brooms and staged the protest,” Malini told TNM. Several of these mothers were members of the BJP Mahila Morcha, and videos from the incident show that a few men and children were also part of the group.
Malini alleged that residents in the Konad Beach area were also facing several troubles due to “drug-addicted youth,” who she alleged came to the beach to use drugs and engage in “immoral activities.” The women had told media persons that the police weren’t doing anything to prevent such activities.
The BJP leader went on to call the broom stunt an “awareness campaign” against drugs and immoral activities. “A few days ago, an elderly man in the area asked a couple who was sitting near the roadside and indulging in ‘activities’ to move a little further away. But the couple got angry and shouted at him. Don’t we have the right to live peacefully in our area?” she asked. She also alleged that several school students in uniforms are coming to the beachside regularly.
“The women spoke to many couples and other youngsters who were sitting on the beach, and all of them got up and left without any objection. The police were also present with us,” she said, adding that several uniform-wearing school students were also coming to the beachside regularly.
The Vellayil police reached the protest site, but no case has been registered yet. The police claimed this was because no complaints were made, and no law and order issue was reported. “The women protesters approached each person who was sitting at the beach and informed them that they would stage a protest if they saw any bad behaviour. As it is, there were only a few people present at the time,” the police said.
Malini, however, has warned that they would continue the moral policing until their problems are resolved.