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Kolkata moral policing: Protesters offer ‘free hug’ to metro commuters

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A day after a couple was harassed inside a metro train in Kolkata, a group of youngsters on Wednesday travelled between two stations as a mark of protest, offering ‘free hugs’ to commuters. According to an eye witness, the couple was allegedly taunted and manhandled by a group of elderly men and subsequently beaten up at Dum Dum station, for what the crowd claimed was displaying affection in public.

Protesting against the incident which triggrered outrage on social media also, the group of youngsters travelled from Tollygunj to Dum Dum. During the course of the half-hour journey, they raised slogans like ‘I love Kolkata’, ‘Say no to moral policing’, and sang the famous ‘Ek la cholo re’ song. Outside the Dum-Dum station, the group was joined by more protesters.

Recalling a similar incident of moral policing, actor Sanghaitra Dey, who was one of the women offering ‘free hug’, said, “Once, me and my friend were standing close to each other and a few men started passing lewd comments. It is normal in our city where people judge you every now and then. I feel sad that there have been many instance when I have objected to harassment in public place and none came in support. I have come here because I feel we must stand against moral policing.”

“We stay in a very conservative society. May be the couple didn’t want to come out in public. But that can’t stop us from supporting them. We are standing up against moral policing,” said Indrarup Bhattacharya, a protester.

Meanwhile, Ajay Vijayvargiye, general manager, Kolkata Metro Railway, assured better surveillance inside metro stations. “The couple have been traced in the CCTV footage but no altercation could be found. Since no complaint has been received, no concrete action could be taken. Photographs and CCTV footage have been shared with the local police station. For better surveillance, we will increase the number of CCTV cameras and security personnel,” said Vijayvargiye.

Source: The Indian Express


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