14 Feb|Sat|3 PM|Occupy Valentine’s Day

Since the mid-2000s, Karnataka has borne witness to the rise of vigilante groups who claim, among other things, to be “protecting culture”. They violently attack those who violate their ideals of segregated religion, of caste boundaries, of “decency” (which is essentially any unmarried couple in public), and so on. They have been dubbed the “moral police” or “cultural police” by the media.

Over the past fifteen years, these “moral” goons have risen to prominence first in Mangalore, from where they have spread out to the entire state. Karnataka has been called the laboratory of hate politics, where experiments on how to spread hate and distrust could be practiced effectively and fine-tuned. These groups are many and varied, often dividing themselves based along communal and religious lines. While they often tend to be at odds with one another, the common ground they share is the belief that society must be controlled and moulded to their designs. Such groups are also present all over India, and have a long history of using violent means to enforce their belief systems on society.

In the first week of February of this year, 2015, the Hindu Mahasabha announced in UP that on the 14th of February, any couple caught celebrating Valentine’s Day in public or even declaring their love on social media will immediately be married off to one another. This is the latest attempt by the “moral” police to curtail personal choice and the autonomy of being on the grounds of culture, religion and social norms.

The Coalition Against Immoral Policing (CAIP) was formed to counter such attempts to curb autonomy and spread the spirit of free association in public spaces. We prefer to use the term immoral policing over “moral” policing on the understanding that there isn’t anything inherently moral about the activities of such groups: to call these violent actions “moral” accords legitimacy to actions that are little more than criminal acts of physical and sexual assault. We, a group comprised of concerned citizens, feminists, human rights lawyers and activists, among others, decry the acts of these immoral police groups, on the grounds that they are designed only to introduce fear and strife, and take away the freedom of love and expression accorded every citizen.

Join us at the Victoria Statue at Cubbon Park at 3 pm on the 14th of February (Saturday).

 From there, we will split into groups and walk across towards MG Road, Commercial Street, Avenue Road and surrounding areas at 3.30 pm.

We are the Coalition Against Immoral Policing, and we invite you to OCCUPY VALENTINE’S DAY and assert your Right to live and love.

Contact us at: caip.karnataka@gmail.com, or find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CoalitionAgainstImmoralPolicing