After a mob reportedly beat a couple for being affectionate, protesters gather at the site to offer free hugs

(CNN)Across several metro stations in the Indian city of Kolkata, young men and women took part in a different kind of protest: They held up signs offering free hugs.

The demonstrations Tuesday and Wednesday were in response to a report that a young couple had been pulled from a train and beaten by a mob earlier in the week for being affectionate.
The first report appeared in a daily newspaper where the journalist wrote he witnessed the incident first-hand. According to the report, the train was crowded and a man, in his 20s, put his arm around the woman he was traveling with.
    That apparently offended some elderly men in the car, prompting an argument that got ugly.
    When the train reached the next station, the crowd punched and kicked the man -- and also attacked the woman when she tried to intervene, according to the report.
    The general manager of Metro Railway told reporters that surveillance footage didn't find "clear evidence" of the Monday night incident and the couple didn't file a complaint.
    Still the report of the attack spread rapidly online, resulting in the protests.
    "A young couple embraced in the Kolkata metro. It made a bunch of frustrated old losers angry. They beat them up," tweeted author Taslima Nasreen, who had to leave neighboring Bangladesh after receiving death threats from extremists. "Scenes of hatred are allowed. Scenes of love are considered obscene."
    At the stations, protesters greeted commuters with signs that said "We believe in morals, not moral policing" and the hashtag #HokAlingan (Let there be hugs).
    Some told CNN News 18 they took part because they too had been victims of such moral policing.
    The Metro issued a statement condemning the "unfortunate incident."