A LOCAL leader of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) from Mudigere region in Chikmagalur district of Karnataka, Anil Raj, has been arrested and several other Hindutva activists from the region are being tracked by the police following the suicide of a 20-year-old girl, who was allegedly harassed for her posts on social media.
Dhanyashree, a first year B.Com. student, was allegedly hounded by youth activists from Hindutva groups like Bajrang Dal and BJYM, after she reportedly said on a WhatsApp group that she liked Muslims. She committed suicide on January 6.
In a police complaint, her mother, Saraswathi Suvarna, a tailor, has said the harassment began on January 4, when an unidentified caller questioned Dhanyashree about her WhatsApp message. According to the complaint, the caller, who later identified himself as Santosh, a Bajrang Dal activist from Mangalore, also asked Dhanyashree why she was wearing a head scarf in some of her photographs posted on social media.
Santosh reportedly made repeated calls, and even spoke to Suvarna on one occasion. Telling Suvarna to “control” her daughter, Santosh allegedly warned her that “embarrassing pictures” of Dhanyashree would be posted on social media.
According to Suvarna, a group of men, who identified themselves as Bajrang Dal activists, visited their home the next day and threatened to defame her daughter.
On January 6, when Dhanyashree was alone at home, she committed suicide. She reportedly left behind a note stating that she could not bear the harassment by Hindutva activists and their false claims that she was involved with a Muslim boy. The harassment had caused humiliation to her family members, she said.
Calling it “moral goondagiri’’, police officers in Chikmagalur district said while BJYM local leader Anil Raj was arrested on the basis of Suvarna’s complaint, a search has been launched for others accused of harassing the girl, including Santosh.