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The Rediff Interview/

'We will not allow Valentine's Day celebrations'

February 03, 2009

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Pramod Muthalik is the founder of the Shri Ram Sene whose activists attacked a pub in Mangalore and assaulted a group of women on January 24.

Muthalik hails from Hukkeri, a small town in Belgaum, Karnataka. He started his political career with a stint in the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. He soon became a prachalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and rose to chief of the Bajrang Dal's Karnataka unit .

He soon parted ways with the Sangh Parivar and went on to form the Shri Ram Sene.

In this interview with rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa, Muthalik, who is facing 53 cases in 15 districts in Karnataka, declares that he will continue to "safeguard Indian culture."

How can you continue to justify the Mangalore incident?

I will always stand by my statement that the intention behind the Mangalore attack was correct and we did nothing wrong in raising this issue.

What is wrong in opposing the pub, drug and club culture? Someone had to raise this issue. We decided to do so as no one else seemed to be bothered about it. We have a responsibility towards society and we need to safeguard Indian culture. Pub culture is Western and we don't need it.

Who has appointed you a moral policeman?

Nobody needs to appoint me. This is a democracy and we have the right to raise our voice if we think something is wrong.

Why do you resort to violence? You have no right to hit anyone, especially women.

I am saddened by the fact that the incident turned violent. There was never an intention to resort to violence. But the reports of attacking women and molesting them are wrong -- they have been created by the media.

Let me reiterate that our intention was right, but the manner in which it was carried out was wrong.

Why do you have a problem with people who want to have some fun in a pub?

As I mentioned earlier, pub culture is not Indian and we do not need to ape the West. Girls are resorting to all sorts of rubbish due to lack of guidance. We will continue to raise our voice and will also take the help of law enforcement agencies to ensure that students do not tread the wrong path.

Our stance had been supported by five chief ministers who have all stated that pub culture is wrong. Union Health Minister A Ramadoss has said that pub culture encourages drinking. So why are you singling out the Sena?

But you are on the wrong side of the law. Several cases have been registered against you and your activists. If what you are doing is correct, then why have so many cases been slapped on you and your organisation?

I will continue my fight and even a thousand cases will not deter me. We will not resort to violence and will do everything in a democratic way. We will not stop until we set up a Hindu nation.

Where were you when the Congress was in power in Karnataka? The fact that the BJP is in power has augured well for you.

We will raise an issue only when there is an issue to be raised. I would also like to caution the BJP and tell them not to forget that it has come to power due to its pro-Hindutva stand. These acts of ingratitude towards the Hindu outfits will not help the party and it will lose power in all the states -- like it did in Uttar Pradesh [Images].

Your answers indicate that there will be more trouble in Karnataka.

There will be no violence, but we will raise our voice. We will not allow Valentine's Day celebration as it is not part of our culture. We will take the help of the police and college students to ensure that nobody celebrates Valentine's Day.

Union Child and Women's Development Minister Renuka Chaudhary has demanded a ban on the Sena.

Banning the Sena would be foolish. This looks like a ploy to tarnish the image of the BJP. If anyone tried to ban us, we will seek legal recourse.

You were questioned by the Anti-Terrorism Squad for your alleged role in the Malegaon blast case. What did the Mumbai [Images] ATS want from you?

A man named Pravin Muthalik has been mentioned in the chargesheet in the Malegaon blast case. The ATS officials wanted to know my connection with him. I told them that I am not associated with Pravin in any manner.


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