Sri Ram Sene chief justifies the incident fully saying it was about protecting culture. Vicky Nanjappa reports
It was an ugly sight on Saturday night when nearly 40 men from the Hindu Jagran Vedike dragged women out of a home stay in full media glare and beat them up. While the Vedike claims that they were doing so in order to protect their culture, the fact that they beat up women is something that has been criticised by many in the state.
The incident brought back memories of the infamous pub attack in Mangalore a few years back where women were beaten up by the Sri Ram Sene in a similar fashion. The chief of the Sene did not have any different reaction this time around too. He justified the incident to the fullest and said that it was about protecting culture. He, however, was quick to blame the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state and said that not much was being done to protect the culture of the land.
"These girls are like our sisters and they are being misguided by some youth. It is our bounden duty to protect these girls and I do not see any harm. It was a rave party and it is not something that we approve of. It is not part of our culture and if someone is trying to stop it then I don't think such a fuss should be made about the same," he said.
Walter Nandalike, editor-in-chief of the popular online portal and a publication from Mangalore, Daijiworld, said that the fact that women were beaten up is condemnable to the fullest. "I somehow do not understand the larger picture in this. Why was the media called in instead of the police? This means that the media was informed well in advance," Nandalike said.
"People do ask me if there is a cultural divide or cultural intolerance in Mangalore. While there is a religious divide, I do not think that the cultural intolerance is to that extent. There is a larger picture to this. It all started in the year 2008 a couple of months before the Lok Sabha elections. There was a pub attack and also churches were attacked. Now there is an election in another eight months and there is a similar incident. I however do not want to blame the government for this and neither the police should be blamed completely. Police cannot give protection to every house in the city, but yes, they can investigate the matter well and bring the culprits to book," added Nandalike.
The Mayor of Mangalore, Gulzather Banu, said she shocked by the incident. "It is sad that girls were treated like this. I condemn it," she said.
Mahendra Kumar, who was once with the Bajrang Dal which led the church attacks in Mangalore, is today a member of the Janata Dal (Secular). He said that the incident was sad and girls should not be treated like this. "Why has the vedike being selective in their actions. There was a rave party at Malpe recently but they did not go there and conduct a similar operation. That is being selective since that party at Malpe was organised by the district administration. If they are so concerned about protecting culture, then they ought to have raided that party as well," he said.