KOCHI: In an act of moral policing, a group of Shiv Sena activists on Wednesday allegedly chased away young men and women who were sitting in the Marine Drive area in Kochi.
The police said five activists of the Shiv Sena were taken into custody in connection with the incident which came in for condemnation from the ruling CPI(M) and opposition Congress.
Malayalam TV news channels aired video footage showing a group of marching Shiv Sena activists, wielding sticks and chasing away the young men and women from Marine Drive, a tourist spot.
According to police , the Shiv Sena’s Kochi unit took out a procession carrying a banner “stop love under umbrella.’’ They targeted youngsters by verbally abusing the couples claiming that they’used to indulge in immoral activities in the park’ and then cane them.
The incident occurred allegedly in the presence of police who mutely watched on when Shiv Sena goons attacked couples.
Talking to Manorama News, Shiv Sena leader Harikumar defended the moral policing attack said, “It is a one-off incident. Men, who befriend girls, on the pretext of love, take pictures of girls and abuse them sexually. We got several complaints from parents and the march was taken out by Sena to stop this.”
Kochi mayor Soumini Jain condemned the incident and asked the police to take strong action against the accused.
“It is sad that young men and women were targeted on International Women’s Day. I strongly condemn it. I have asked the police to register a case against the culprits under the sections dealing with violence against women,” she said.
Congress MLA PT Thomas said the issue will be raised in the state assembly on Thursday.
“We cannot agree with this kind of moral policing. Unfortunately, police personnel were seen standing as mute spectators when the women and men were being chased away by the hooligans on International Women’s Day. The culprits should be arrested immediately,” he said.
CPI(M) MLA M Swaraj said such incidents of moral policing will not be tolerated in Kerala. Swaraj, who is also a Democratic Youth Federation of India leader, said the activists of the outfit held a protest march at Marine Drive following the incident.
With PTI inputs