Lucknow, Feb 14: Several activists of Hindu outfits in UP were either arrested or detained today as they took to the streets targeting young couples on Valentine's Day, while Hindu Mahasabha claimed that about 800 couples have registered their names with them for marriage.
The Uttar Pradesh Police had issued instructions to maintain law and order in all the cities and deployed additional force at malls, parks and cinema halls.
"Instructions have been issued in this regard to police officials, especially in urban areas, to make necessary deployment of force to ensure that no one is allowed to take law in his hands," IG (Law and Order) A Satish Ganesh said.
Activists of Hindu Mahasabha, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Yuva Vahini took rounds of public places to chase away young couples in several cities. Reports from Lucknow, Kanpur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Bulandshahr and Bareilly said that youths in saffron attires were seen on public places stopping youths from celebrating the event.
"About 13 to 14 youth trying to enforce moral policing were taken into custody in Lakhimpur Kheri," Superintendent of Police (SP) Arvind Sen Yadav said. In Bareilly, six activists of Hindu Yuva Vahini and Shiv Sena were arrested in apprehension of breach of peace, SP(City) Bareilly Rajiv Mehrotra said.
Hindu Mahasabha, which had announced that to facilitate the marriage of couples found at public places on the day, claimed that their programme was a big hit.
"Our activists got in touch with about 700 to 800 couples in the Delhi's NCR and they agreed with us that love was not something that has to be expressed at public places," outfit president Chandra Prakash Kaushik said.
"These couples have got their names and addresses registered with us and asked for time ranging from two days to a month to take their relationship to the next level," Kaushik claimed.
In Kanpur, activists of Bajrang Dal held protest against Valentine's Day celebrations and chased away young couples from parks and zoo. Shiv Sena workers misbehaved with couples in Bulandshahr and forced them to do sit ups and also chased them away.
In state capital Lucknow, Bajrang Dal also took out three processions covering major parks and other such places and also beat up some youths.
Hindu Mahasabha chief Kaushik said,"there had been no untoward incident as our volunteers carrying white flowers were busy spreading the message of peace."
He claimed that about 12 such couples were married at their Delhi office today. "We are not against love as we are the country which has spread love all over the world but we are against the western influence on our society," he added.