Hyderabad: If Valentine’s Day is all about painting the town red and showering love on each other, it was missing on Sunday as the celebrations turned out to be a low key affair in the twin cities. The Pune blast and prevailing political climate seems to have kept most people indoors.
This, however, did not deter activists of Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) from playing the spoilsport.
Five persons were taken into custody for forcing owners of gift shops to close their establishments at Dilsukhnagar, 40 persons were detained at Secunderabad, Kushaiguda and Mehdipatnam for allegedly disrupting youngsters from celebrating.
While malls were decked up to lure couples, streets were devoid of traffic. The usual buzz was missing save for road side florists and balloon vendors who did some good business. “We decided to celebrate at home with a few friends because the atmosphere outside was not conducive,” said Archana Prasad, employee of a software firm.
Corporate companies tried to pep up some excitement by organising different contests. Mobile service provider Uninor and Radio Mirchi organised the ‘Refreshingly Photogenic Couple Contest’, where contestants participated in contests including spot compatibility and personality test, couple dance and love quotient.
The winning couple, Varun Kamaraju and Mounica Varun Simon, won the contest and rode away on a brand new Scooty Pep. “It was a fun-filled experience. We entered the contest and never thought that we’d win it. The day has really been special for us and hopefully the year ahead will be special too,” said Mr. Kamaraju.
It was not fun all the way young couples were intercepted in parks and counselled on ill-effects of “western culture”. They also took contact numbers of youngsters and spoke to their parents requesting them protect the Indian culture. An irksome experience awaited unwary couples venturing out into usual lover-spots especially the Necklace Road where Bajrang Dal activists harassed couples on two-wheelers.
They stopped young couples of two-wheelers near Hanuman Temple and allowed only married couples to proceed and others who sounded unconvincing about their marital status were told to go back. “When I told them we are engaged, they sought my father’s contact and called him to verify it,” said a shaken youngster. Riding on motor-bikes in groups, the gang also tried to create panic among loitering couples before vanishing into Sanjeevaiah Park.