THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Six people, including a couple who led Kerala’s controversial Kiss of Love (KoL) protest against moral policing, were arrested by the police for involvement in an online sex racket in Kochi, early on Wednesday.
The police said Rahul Pasupalan acted as supplier of girls, including minors, and his wife, model Rashmi Nair, was an agent who also offered sexual services to solicitors.
S Sreejith, IG of Police (Crimes) said the arrests were made after statewide raids under operation “Big Daddy”. Four others arrested have been identified as Abdul Khader alias Akbar, the kingpin of the racket, Lineesh Mathew, Ajeesh and Aashiq. The arrested have been booked under Sections 366A and 370 of the IPC, Section 67 of the IT Act and Section 13 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Two minor girls, identified as sisters, brought in from Bengaluru by Lineesh, a woman based in Lingarajapuram in Bengaluru, are in custody of the child welfare committee.
The investigation team traced the racket through contact information for escort services provided by Abdul Khader on a classified site Locanto. The police tracked down Khader through people who posed as solicitors, leading them to Rashmi. After a deal was finalised, Rashmi arrived at a hotel near the Cochin International Airport with Rahul and their five-year-old son. The couple were arrested at the hotel. Earlier, Lineesh was arrested after she flew in from Bengaluru with the two minor girls.
Two other women who were waiting at the hotel’s parking lot for the decoy solicitors escaped, speeding away in their car, injuring a policeman. One of the women is married to Aashiq. “The operation was planned with extensive digital evidence. Khader has been in contact with Rahul for a year,” Sreejith told reporters. The police seized two cars, a tablet phone, about 20 mobile phones and Rs 8,600 from the accused.
Rahul and Rashmi shot to international fame in November last year after their arrest at Marine Drive in Kochi during the KoL protest, organised against moral policing.
A photograph of them kissing inside a police vehicle became an iconic image for anti-fascist dissent. KoL also ran into opposition from organisations which questioned the idea of “anarchy” it endorsed. On the Internet, the opposition found renewed vigour in wake of the arrest; critics of KoL posted offensive messages on the official KoL page on Facebook.
Late Wednesday evening, the page’s administrators posted a message stating that the protest was a collective uprising against cultural fascism and arrest of two of its participants did not undermine its importance.
Op Big Daddy
Operation Big Daddy also led to the arrest of six others, from different parts of the state, in connection with a Facebook page titled ‘Kochu Sundarikal’ in which photographs of minors were posted along with explicit sexual comments.
The arrested are Ummer, a UAE-based man and administrator of the page, Bijesh, Sony Kurian, Sujith, Chandrakumar and Pradeep.