Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Feb 14:
Eight activists of Bajran Dal and Kalinga Sena were detained by police as storm troopers of the two outfits went about harassing love-lorn couples in the Odisha capital on Valentine’s Day today.
Parks in the city, usually the most preferred place for young lovers on this day, wore a deserted look as young couples, wiser after the experience of the last couple of years, chose the safety of movie halls and shopping malls to spend some time in each other’s company.
But there was no respite for them in the malls either as the self appointed cultural policemen went about harassing them. Hordes of them barged into the Bhabani Mall in Shahid Nagar, which houses the Inox multiplex and accosted the amorous couples. They threatened to whisk them away to temples, summon their parents and get them married there.
On seeing the activists, most couples ran away from the place fearing physical assault. The police had to rush in and take some of the activists into custody before a semblance of order was restored.
The police also resorted to a mild lathi-charge to disperse the volunteers, who organized a bike rally in the city.
The scene was no different at Big Bazaar in Satya Nagar, another preferred place of the young generation to spend some time with friends and boy/girl friends.
The activists asked the young lovers to observe the day as Matru Pitru Divas and worship their parents in the best traditions of Hinduism.
“We are against the Valentine’s Day celebration as it is vulgar and against Hindu culture. What we are opposing is the indecent display of love. It is nothing but vulgarity,” said Bhupesh Nayak, a member of Bajrang Dal, Bhubaneswar.
Commissionerate police claimed it had deployed adequate police personnel to prevent such incidenrs in the Twin City of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
Twin city Commissioner of Police Dr RP Sharma said about 10 platoons of police had been deployed at parks, malls and cafeteria in Bhubaneswar alone to prevent any untoward incident.
Two sections of striking force were placed at every police station in the city. ACPs and inspectors kept a close eye on incidents of eve teasing, vulgarity, wrongfully confinement of couples and other illegal acts.
The Commissioner said the police personnel on duty acted under the law.