In a fresh incident of suspected moral policing in Mangalore,the 18-year-old daughter of a CPI(M) MLA from Kerala and her Muslim friend were attacked by a group of eight to 10 miscreants on Friday afternoon.
The girl,Shruti,the only child of C H Kunhambu from neighbouring Manjeshwar in Kerala,is a class 12 student of the St Aloysius College in Mangalore and was traveling in a bus from her hometown,Kasargod,with the male friend when the group of yet to be identified miscreants boarded the bus at the Pumpwell stop in Mangalore.
The attackers dragged them out of the bus,took them away,and assaulted them,Inspector General of Police for the Western Range of Karnataka A M Prasad said. My daughter was returning to Mangalore to her hostel and was talking to the boy seated in another seat when the attackers dragged them away accusing them of being in an inter-religious relationship, the MLA said.
Shruti was taken to a house and questioned on why she was going around with a Muslim boy. Both of them were slapped,harassed and beaten up.
As soon as the police received information,they tried to contact her on her phone. We soon learnt that she had reached her local guardians house. Her parents came and took her to Kasargod. We have learnt that the boy has also returned to his house in Kasargod, said Prasad.
The boy was initially reported to be missing after being dragged away from the bus.
The attack is suspected to be the handiwork of activists of the Hindu Right-wing Sri Rama Sene,who were involved in an attack on women at a pub in Mangalore on January 24 and have been actively involved in disrupting inter-religious ties.
Police officials,however,said they were also looking at the angle of a jilted relationship. We are registering a case of criminal assault. We do not know how the attackers knew the boy and the girl were from different communities. We suspect they were followed from Kasargod where they boarded the bus, the police official said.
Unlike in the case of past incidents,the Sene did not publicly claim to have carried out the attack on Friday. Mangalore district convener for the Sene Kumar Malemar,who had been among those who had praised the pub assault,when contacted,said,The Sri Rama Sene is not involved,we dont know who did it.
The Sene has been at the centre of several similar attacks in Mangalore,including one on the day of the pub assault when 50-year-old Abdul Hamid and his three friends,including two women,were assaulted in a house for being in an inter-religious relationship.
Two years ago at the Pumpwell stop,Sene activists had attacked a bus carrying employees of a local store,belonging to various communities,while they were returning from a picnic.