The Mangaluru police say that recent incidents of ‘moral policing’ reported in Dakshina Kannada are attempts by Bajrang Dal activists to re-establish themselves and build a case for legislation on love jihad. What seems to be giving it extra push is the upcoming elections in neighbouring Kerala, say political activists.
On Thursday night, a 23-year-old man was assaulted and stabbed allegedly by a group of Bajrang Dal activists at Mangaluru after he was found to be travelling with a woman classmate in a bus bound for Bengaluru. The police have so far arrested four Bajrang Dal activists in the case. They are now searching for persons who informed the activists of the couple travelling in the private bus.
On March 31, Bajrang Dal activists had allegedly questioned a boy for travelling with a girl from another community in a bus from Udupi to Mangaluru. However, no complaint was filed because there was no assault. On March 29, there was an attempted attack on a woman and a man travelling in a private bus by 40 Bajrang Dal activists, who were waiting for the bus near Moodbidri. The arrival of the police on time prevented this. In a similar incident in the first week of March, a group of activists made a couple get out of a Bengaluru-bound bus at Bantwal. Again, the situation did not escalate because of police intervention. Three persons were arrested by Belthangady police in February for sending messages to few girls against moving with their classmates from different communities.
A police officer involved in the investigation of Pumpwell incident said that there appears a definite plan by the Bajrang Dal activists to assert themselves in the region. Another senior police officer, who has worked for a long time in Dakshina Kannada, said the activists are trying to build a case of law on Love Jihad. He said they are widely circulating information about their actions on social media.
At a press conference on Friday, Bajrang Dal Pranta Sanchalak Sunil K. claimed ‘Love Jihad’ was happening in an organised way and their activists are trying to prevent it.
Democratic Youth Federation of India State president Muneer Katipalla said photos and videos of vigilante acts of Bajrang Dal in Dakshina Kannada were being circulated in neighbouring Kasaragod where so-called ‘Love Jihad’ is among the issues taken up in the campaign by the BJP ahead of the polls.