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Netizens furiously call out ‘moral policing’ after Kolkata couple gets beaten for ‘standing too close’

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In February 2017, a couple in Kerala went live on Facebook after they were harassed by police who accused them of “showing vulgarity”. Cut to 2018, the issue of moral policing doesn’t seem to be ending in the country. On Monday night, a couple in Kolkata was assaulted by a group of elderly men for “standing too close” to each other in the metro. Subsequently, they were beaten up at Dum Dum station. According to a journalist working with a Bangla daily, the man was first punched on and kicked in his face and when the woman tried to stop the assault, she was thrashed too. The incident resulted in protests, with many strongly condemning the act and others taking to the streets with placards that read — ‘Free hugs’.

ALSO READ | Irked by moral policing, Kerala couple goes Live on Facebook to ask cops to prove ‘vulgarity’

The unrest, fury and tension was quite palpable, on social media as well. Many, including author Taslima Nasreen, vehemently called out the explicit “moral policing” of the society that was on display. Nasreen tweeted out a picture of the couple getting beaten up, with this caption: “A young couple embraced in Kolkata metro. It made a bunch of frustrated old losers angry. They beat them up. Scenes of hatred are allowed. Scenes of love are considered obscene.

ALSO READ | Kolkata couple beaten up for standing ‘too close’ in Metro

Here are other reactions the incident garnered on the micro-blogging site.

What was endearing was how the incident sparked widespread protests and people, inclduing many youngsters, took to the streets to get the point across in a rather out-of-the-box way — by offering ‘jaadu ki jhappis’ (magical hugs).

Watch IE Bangla’s video of the protests here.

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

A handful of people, meanwhile, wondered on the Internet if there is more to the story because it is unlikely that just hugging could have triggered the elderly men. “We scanned every frame of the CCTV footage. All movements were completely normal. We also spoke to RPF and security officials on duty — no one saw anything.” told Indrani Banerjee, a metro spokesperson to The Indian Express, asserting that they did not find any untoward movements in the CCTV footage they analysed.

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