In another case of religious vigilantism reported in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, Muslim youths took on a group of teenagers including two girls from different communities for interacting in public. The police who initially rounded-up the instigators, owing to the local pressure released them with a ‘stern’ warning.
On Friday, Sana* was visiting her friend Gowri* at Kuppepadavu at Bantwal Taluk in Dakshina Kannada for lunch. Post-lunch, the two-girls walked off to a hanging-bridge at Mullarapatna that is considered to be a local picnic-hub.
After about an hour, the victims told the police that they had a chance encounter with a group of boys (mostly Hindus) who were their former classmates in high school and were visiting the same bridge. “As a group we continued our chat amongst ourselves and did not create any trouble to others,” the girls added in their statement.
But, suddenly a large group of Muslims rushed to the area and isolated the ‘college-goers’ group from rest of the public. The vigilantes in particular rebuked the Muslim girl for mingling with her classmates and forced her to summon her father by calling him on his mobile phone. While the group hit the boys, the girl was pushed around aggressively.
Meanwhile the self appointed vigilantes who had surrounded the group continued to assault them and even recorded the entire incident on their mobile phones. “The vigilantes even acted against the advice of the elders and their own community members who had arrived at the scene to rescue the youngsters. Moreover, facing pressure from the vigilantes and public humiliation the father of the Muslim girl who reached the spot, unwillingly hit her,” State President of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) Muneer Katipalla said.
Alerted by the locals, the Bajpe police reached the spot and rounded up the entire group. Apparently the police officials, who found the video recording in few mobile devices of the attackers, seized and deleted the video – as they felt it could act as a incitement for communal violence.
The police also verified the background of the victims and confirmed that most of them knew each other from their school days and had passed out from a nearby Pre-university College together. They were currently pursuing degrees and diplomas at different institutions. The police cited the encounter of the teenage girls with the boys as purely coincidental.
Meanwhile though police questioned the assaulter, owing to local persistence and absence of a complaint from the victim, the police said that they did not register any case. “We have taken the details of all the youngsters involved in the matter and have warned them. We have also warned them that if we come across any upload or transmission of the assault incident online, we will definitely registered an FIR against them,” a police official said.