Where to hold hands in Calcutta

In December, romantics in Calcutta urged the Indian government to establish a "love zone" in the city, where lovers can meet in public without harassment.

"Why can't young people meet, talk, kiss, and hold hands without being harassed?" asked Rupak Manush, president of Lovers' Organisation for Voluntary Exhibition (LOVE). The group, representing "young couples and lovers," appealed to authorities to set aside land in the crowded city where people could meet romantically without being disturbed by inquisitive policemen, nosy children, and noisy hawkers. "We need a love zone where people can share intimate thoughts without being disturbed," Mr. Manush said.

LOVE found a sympathetic audience in Subrata Mukherjee, Calcutta's mayor, who agreed that couples in the city are often interrupted in their mutual admiration. The mayor has pledged to set aside "love zones" in famous public places such as the Victoria Memorial lawns and the Eden Gardens.

But he says that those people he calls "the disciples of Cupid" must realize that these areas are intended for lovers, not love-makers. He insists that there is a firm distinction to be made between the two groups. For their part, the Indian police deny harassing young lovers.

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