As a Valentine's Day card smoldered, more than 100 members of the Hindu extremist group Shiv Sena gathered in central New Delhi chanted "Death to Valentine's Day" and "People who celebrate Valentine's Day should be pelted with shoes!"
Across the country, stores stocked heart-shaped balloons and chocolates, restaurants offered Valentine's Day specials and young lovers found refuge from prying eyes in the parks.
It's a state of affairs that enrages Hindu and Muslim hard-liners, who on Wednesday vented just as they do every Valentine's Day - burning cards, holding rallies and even threatening to beat couples caught canoodling in public, a strict no-no for those who claim to defend traditional Indian values.
"We have come to know that in America, even unmarried girls as young as 11 or 12 years have become mothers ... and every second man there is divorced," Goel told reporters after reducing several greeting cards to a small pile of ash. "This is their culture - it cannot be accepted here."