A massive rally taken out by a pro-Hindu outfit in Karnataka’s coastal district Udupi on Sunday saw members carrying swords and calling for a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ as police walked next to them.
The rally, which took place on Gandhi Jayanti, saw several people associated with Hindu Jagarana Vedike walking on the main streets of Udupi town, wielding swords. Elected representatives like Udupi MLA Raghupathi Bhat were seen at the rally, chanting in support of ‘Hindu Rashtra’.
The district police force was also seen providing protection to the march and the event that accompanied it.
Srikanth Shetty Karkala, a Udupi-based television reporter, called for Hindus to take up weapons in a speech. “There should be a weapon in every Hindu household. During Ayudha Pooja, Hindus should not worship cycles, mixers or grinders, but they should worship weapons. Let us cultivate the mindset to use those weapons,” he said.
Targeting the six Muslim girl students of Udupi who were part of the Hijab row, Shetty said that the women maligned the name of the coastal region. He added that it was Hindu Jagarana Vedike that exposed their “true colours”.
A controversy had broken out in several colleges in Udupi district after a number of female Muslim students were denied entry into colleges because they wore hijabs which the institutes said were in conflict with their dress code. As a part of protests, several Hindu students had flocked to the campus wearing saffron headgear as well.
“Saffron turbans are now seen in the colleges. It is not worn for fashion but indicates that society is changing and there is awareness. If there is any issue in future, not just saffron turbans, you may see a thousand swords,” Shetty said.