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Kissing and hugging between young couples will no longer be tolerated in the central park of the southeastern Tajik city of Kulob, park director Sharaf Aziziov has told RFE/RL's Tajik Service.

Aziziov has said that park officials have warned the public that young couples who kiss or embrace in the park may be filmed and the footage would air on local television.

The park is ringed by several high schools and the local university.

Gulizor, a female park visitor, told RFE/RL that she is against the policy because the park is the only place where young couples can walk, spend time together, and decide on a possible marriage.

She said they are not doing anything illegal and suggested that officials could consider introducing fines for improper behavior or park entrance fees instead of monitoring everyone on video.

However, Kulob resident Mahmadali Kholiqov said he supports the policy because young people should follow Tajik and oriental traditions in which such shows of affection are forbidden in public areas.

University professor Abdunazar Giyoev told RFE/RL that filming park visitors would not violate privacy rights because officials have publicly announced that there will be surveillance.

Several years ago a group of police officers in Dushanbe were detained for taking bribes in exchange for not informing parents about the behavior of young couples in the park.

-- Tajik Service

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