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The Rediff Interview/Karnatka Home Minister Dr V S Acharya

'Pub culture is not desirable in India'

January 30, 2009

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The attack on a group of women in a Mangalore pub, allegedly by members of the Shri Ram Sene, has the Opposition gunning for his head. But Karnataka Home Minister Dr V S Acharya seems unfazed by the volley of criticism directed at the state government after the incident.

In an interview with rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa, Dr Acharya claims that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in the state acted swiftly and firmly against the culprits involved in the Mangalore attack.

Has your government succeeded in acting against the perpetrators of the Mangalore attack?

We have acted swiftly and taken appropriate action in the matter. We have given the police a free hand and they have done a commendable job. The arrest of so many people is an indication of the action being taken.

Do you agree with Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa's views about putting an end to the pub culture in the state?

Pub culture is not desirable in the Indian context. I whole-heartedly agree with Yeddyurappa's stance.

Are you planning to take action against these pubs?

There are laws that govern these pubs. The usual norms will continue to apply to pubs and bars. But implementing the existing law is not the issue here. The Mangalore pub, which was attacked, had not violated any laws.

Is the BJP associated with the Shri Ram Sene?

We are not associated with the Sene. I have always maintained that the Shri Ram Sene is a separate entity and has nothing to do with the BJP.

But they seem to be taking advantage of the fact that the BJP is in power.

That is not true. We have dealt with the Sene with an iron fist and action has been taken without favouring anyone.

I firmly believe that the Sene is a tool in someone's hand, who is playing a game, to tarnish the BJP.

Can you substantiate that statement?

The ongoing investigations have provided some clues about the Sene being used as a tool. The probe will reveal the truth.

Shri Ram Sene activists have been equated to terrorists and intellectuals like U R Ananthamurthy feel that anti-terror laws should be used against them. Doesn't this call for a ban on the Sene to ensure a peaceful Karnataka?

There has been no proposal so far to ban the outfit. But the government is considering the matter. Regarding the applicability of anti-terror laws against the activists, as I mentioned earlier, we have not been soft on them and have dealt with an iron fist.


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