‘Kiss of Love’ protest leaders, Rahul Pasupalam and his wife Reshmi R. Nair were arrested on the charges of allegedly running an ‘online sex racket’ on Wednesday in Thiruvananthapuram. The couple spearheaded the ‘Kiss of Love’ movement in Kochi last year much to the chagrin of Hindu right-wing parties such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Shiva Sena, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Sena. It is alleged that the couple were in cohorts with a group involved in supplying minors and young children to pedophiles, reported The Hindustan Times.
Here's a detailed look on all you need to know about the incident so far.
According to various reports, the police chanced upon the couple in a complicated network of online sex trafficking. The Kerala state police was investigating a complaint on a Facebook page, ‘Kochu Sundarikal’ (Beautiful girls), where pictures of young schoolgirls showed up. According to The News Minute, the police was following up a complaint by a resident of Thiruvananthapuram who was also associated with the ‘Kiss of Love’ movement. After following the leads by one particular woman, who was involved in sex work, the police subsequently tracked two minors who were brought in from Bengaluru for similar purposes.
As far as the arrests go, The News Minute reported that 11 people were arrested. Four, among the 11, were taken into custody, of those, two were women and one minor. The report also said that while they were being taken into custody, three people escaped in a car, including two women and a man. Infamous gangster, Ali Akbar was one among those arrested; he is allegedly involved in many sex-trafficking cases, according to The Hindustan Times.
Rahul Pasupalan’s friend told The News Minute that the police have to prove their case before declaring statements and that Kerala police had previously fabricated the Isro spy scandal case using a sex scandal angle.
The ‘Kiss of Love’ protests started in Kerala in late 2014 when an unruly mob of attackers demolished a coffee shop in Kozhikode, a city in northern Kerala. The mob carried out the attack condemning alleged immoral activity of public display of affection by a few couples. This incident sparked the initial protests and, as the movement gained traction, it spread to other cities like New Delhi and Kolkata.
On 2 November, the Facebook page called, ‘Kiss of Love’ (currently at close to one lakh fifty thousand followers) asked the youth in Kerala to participate in a non-violent protest at Marine Drive in Kochi.
During the protests, several participants publicly displayed affection to take a stand against moral policing. The campaign received severe opposition from right-wing political parties and the Ernakulam wing of Kerala Student Union.
The Times of India reported that the Hindu Sena were standing in favour of ‘Indian culture’; while they were not against love, they were against public display of affection, which they compared to “walking around naked”. The movement since then has gained momentum and has become a way for youngsters to protest the increasing restrictions on civil liberties and unruly administration of moral policing in the name of protecting ‘Indian culture’ from the ‘evils of western influence’. The movement has generally received favourable responses with a consistent base of followers on social media.
Updated Date: Nov 19, 2015 10:05:22 IST