A bus stop bench was cut into three parts to allegedly prevent boys and girls from sitting together in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram. Soon, the city’s Mayor Arya S Rajendran visited the area on Thursday after students of a nearby engineering college complained about “moral policing” on social media and posted visuals of the bus stop bench.
The Mayor posted on Facebook that the manner in which the bench was cut into three seats was not only “inappropriate”, but also “unbecoming of a progressive society” like that of Kerala.
She said that there is no ban on girls and boys sitting together in Kerala and those who still believe there should be such a prohibition are “still living in ancient times”.
“One can only sympathise with those who do not understand that times have changed,” Ms Rajendran wrote on Facebook.
Appreciating the stand taken by College of Engineering Trivandrum (CET) students, Ms Rajendran said a responsive generation is hope for the future and the local authorities were with the students in the matter.
She said the bus stand was dilapidated, unauthorised and did not have clearance from the Public Works Department, and so a new one with modern facilities will be built there by the municipal agency.
The CPI(M)’s youth wing DYFI also reacted to the incident, saying those who try to impose old-fashioned moral concepts and do not believe in gender justice are a danger to society.
“Such people need to realise that the world is changing,” the DYFI state secretariat said in a statement, adding that opposition to freedom of movement and personal liberty under the guise of moral policing will not be accepted.
It said vandalising the bus stand bench to prevent boys and girls from sitting together was offensive and unacceptable.