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The Rediff Interview/

'Shri Ram Sena is a confused organisation'

January 27, 2009

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The Shri Ram Sena shot to the national limelight following the attack on girls in a Mangalore pub. The outfit has been receiving flak for the horrific manner in which some of its activists attacked/molested girls present at the pub.

While most members do not seem to be apologetic about the incident, the Bajrang Dal reacted strongly to the attack. Karnataka Bajrang Dal chief Mahendra Kumar told rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa that the protest by the Shri Ram Sena was indecent and added that the outfit does not have the backing of the Sangh Parivar.

What are your thoughts about the Mangalore incident?

I have nothing against the issue. But the manner in which the activists went about it was wrong. It was an indecent protest and I condemn the manner in which it was carried out.

Sir you say that the issue was correct. What exactly do you mean by that?

Some girls do behave indecently in pubs and such behavior should be kept under check.

Fair enough. Does that mean that this right to keep a check on decency should be handed over to the Shri Ram Sena?

No I am not saying that. The government ought to do it. I urge the government to keep a check on indecent behavior by girls and act against it. If the government decides to act and take steps then there is no question of anyone having to interfere.

You mean to say that the Sena did not have to right to stage this protest.

That is not what I am trying to say. The question of right does not arise in a protest. Everyone has the right to protest. All I am trying to say that the manner in which they protested was wrong.

You too have been vocal about the manner in which girls conduct themselves. Do you have similar plans like the Sena?

No. We will never resort to violence. We are conducting awareness camps in colleges and telling girls about the importance of preserving our culture. Some girls who were found to be misbehaving have been warned. That is the extent we will go up to. Violence against women is a complete no for us.

If you notice Mangalore has become a hotbed for such incidents. First the church attacks by the Bajrang Dal and now this.

It is not fair to target the city. Such incidents take place in Bangalore too. But Bangalore is an ocean and many incidents are hushed up. Mangalore however is a smaller place and every incident ends up making news. Let me remind you that a similar pub attack was undertaken by the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike in Bangalore some time back. But it did not become a huge issue.

Most members of the Sena are former activists of the Bajrang Dal. What kind of affiliation does the Bajrang Dal have with them? Do you fear that with such issues the Sena will become bigger than the Bajrang Dal?

The Sri Ram Sena was started by Pramod Muthalik, a former member of the Bajrang Dal. It is not a strong organisation across the state barring parts of Mangalore and Belgaum. The Sena is a confused organisation and they do not know in which direction they should be going. We do not fear that the Sena will become big one day. Moreover we are not affiliated in any way with the Sena and neither does the it have any backing of the Parivar.

There are allegations that the Sena is trying to Talibanise Karnataka. What are your thoughts about it?

The Bajrang Dal believes in peaceful co-existence. We cannot make this a Taliban [Images] state at any cost. All we want is that the law should take its course of action and if this happens then there will be no need for such confrontation and violence.


The Rediff Interviews

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