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Kids in America think they have it bad because Mom and Dad can't understand the concept of friends with benefits and bribe them to take monastic vows of celibacy. Try India, where gangs of thugs take out advertisements on billboards and spout off on national TV about how they're going to crack down on young love this Valentine's Day.
"[We] will go around with a priest, a turmeric stub and a mangal sutra on Feb. 14. We will take [couples we catch smooching] to the nearest temple and conduct their marriage," Pramod Muthalik, the leader of the Hindu nationalist Sri Ram Sene, threatened recently. (The Sene is already making news for beating up girls they caught hanging out with boys in a pub, thrashing Hindu-Muslim couples, and pelting stones at a school bus that was transporting boys and girls of different religions.)
"[Young couples will be handed over to the police, or your head will be shaven and [you will be] handed to your parents," reads a billboard in Srinagar.
"We warn shopkeepers not to sell gifts or cards on Valentine's Day. We appeal to management of Mughal and Botanical Gardens not to let couples in on Feb. 14," says the Dukhtaran-e-millat, a Muslim group.
It may have temporarily placed Hindu and Muslim fanatics on the same side, but the war of kisses looks set to be a hot one in Delhi, with police vowing to protect canoodlers and the Panther Party promising to fight unromantic thugs with roving anti-goon squads armed with pepper spray, and kids promising to "take back the parks" rather than cave to the self-appointed guardians of their virtue.
"Kissing is personal. It's not something I would do in public, but it's a choice youngsters should be allowed to make for themselves, without people beating them up," one 18-year-old told a local reporter.