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Valentine’s Day battle lines drawn,in pink and saffron

Pune has got on the ‘Pink Chaddi Campaign’ with the city youth collecting around 100 pink panties getting and awaiting with glee the return gesture — pink saris,that have been promised by Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Mutalik.

Written by Aaditi Jathar | Pune | Published: February 12, 2009 1:29 am

Take panties,thanks for saris,city campaigners tell Sri Ram Sene chief

Pune has got on the ‘Pink Chaddi Campaign’ with the city youth collecting around 100 pink panties getting and awaiting with glee the return gesture — pink saris,that have been promised by Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Mutalik.

Mutalik told The Indian Express that he did not appreciate the campaign being run against him. “This way of protesting my ideology by sending me underwear is exactly the vikruti that we are trying to curb. I am sure the parents of these campaigners are hanging their heads in shame because this is not Indian culture. If they had to oppose something,they could have talked it out with us. This is not the way of doing it,” he said.

Mutalik justified his decision to gift pink saris: “Traditionally,Indian women have been wearing saris and by donating pink saris,we are trying to drive in that culture to these campaigners,” he said.

The city unit of Shiv Sena is not unduly worried about being overshadowed by the Sene. The Sena’s city chief Nana Wadekar said the Sene could never overshadow the Sena. “Although we are happy that other parties are opposing Valentine’s Day,we will not be supporting them,” he said.

The pink chaddi campaigners have gleefully agreed to wear the saris Mutalik sends them ‘We greatly appreciate this and will gladly wear the pink saris. We hope he continues to choose similar,non-violent methods to get his point across,just as we have chosen to be non-violent and loving in response to the brutality of the attacks (like the one against women at the Mangalore pub),” a blog posting said.

The campaign,initiated by four Delhi-based women,has termed itself the ‘consortium of pub going,loose and forward women’ appealing to women from all over the country to join them. Till Wednesday,over 15,000 panties were ready for dispatch.

Pune is one of the five collection centres for panties. “Within 12 hours of opening the collection centre here,we have collected around 100 panties and the number is expected to grow,tomorrow being the last day,” said the coordinator at the city centre.

Manasi D,a college student who donated pink panties,said she was shocked by the Sene attack on women at the Mangalore pub.

It isn’t just women protesting. Akshayraj Gupta,a male call centre employee,too has donated panties. “Today the Sene tried to impose restrictions on women. Who knows,they might do it in some other way on men too. One needs to stand up to them,” he said.

As usual,plans for action & counteraction

Saffron outfits are once again gearing up to ensure that Valentine’s Day is not celebrated in the city. The Pune units of the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) on Wednesday held special meetings to chart out their “strategies”.

The Sena decided to act in its “own style”. “Action will be taken in our own style against those celebrating V-Day. Shops and malls will not be allowed to sell V-Day greetings. Our teams will keep a watch on colleges and greeting card shops,” said Nana Wadekar,city unit president of the Shiv Sena.

Murli Mohol,BJP corporator and city president of the BJYM,said,“We are opposing V-Day celebrations,which degrades our culture.”

The Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS) will distribute pamphlets explaining the ‘problems’ caused by such celebrations. “At a time when the problem of terrorism is at its peak,it is sad that our youngsters are celebrating Valentine’s Day. We are urging the youth to arrange patriotic programmes on February 16,the death anniversary of freedom fighter Vasudev Balwant Phadke,and February 26,the death anniversary of Veer Savarkar,” said Sunil Ghanwat,HJS city spokesman.

“True love can be expressed on any day. Keeping a particular day for expressing love encourages hedonism,” Ghanwat said.

Joint commissioner of police Rajendra Sonawne said measures will be in place. “Action will be taken against those violating law and order. Colleges and other areas will be monitored,” he said.

Ravindra Pardeshi,principal of Fergusson College,said,“We have instructed our staff and guards to be wary. We have also told our students to maintain discipline.”

Bhagwan Thakur,principal of Nowrosjee Wadia College,said,“We will have additional security in our college.”

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