Amid threats and backlash from fundamental groups, Kerala went ahead with its Kiss of Love protest against moral policing on Sunday. The only hitch was that the public kissathon on Kochi's Marine Drive ended before it even began.

The Kiss of Love event had been organised by a group called Free Thinkers over social media. They were protesting the attack on a coffee shop in Kerala’s Kozhikode city last week by a Hindutva group that opposed the public display of affection by students there.  They went ahead with their plan even though the police had denied them permission to do so, citing law and order concerns

As the event drew near on Sunday, chaos ensued. About 50 people were detained near the Law College in Kochi and the organisers frantically tried to change the venue until the police finally got to them. Others were beaten up by members of the Shiv Sena who were there to protest the event.

There were lathi charges at Marine Drive for about 20 minutes and potential participants were detained before they could reach the venue. But a small group managed to grab a few kisses before they were taken into custody.

The organisers had expected thousands of people to gather but less than a hundred eventually did, said people on the ground. Most who had come were there just to watch.

Meanwhile, the Yuva Morcha, Shiv Sena, the Congress-backed Kerala Students Union and the Socialist Democratic Party of India gathered to protest against the event. This is the first time that all these political parties were seen together in public.