January 27, 2009 4:22:40 pm
The Mangalore pub assault in which activists of the Sri Rama Sene assaulted young men and women dancing there has been noticed at the highest levels in the BJP who promptly came out to condemn the attack and distance themselves from it.
Calling it the handiwork of a bunch of anti-social elements that must be strongly condemned, NDAs PM-candidate L K Advani told ‘The Indian Express’ today: State Home Minister V S Acharya spoke to me last night and said that 13 hoodlums had been arrested. The miscreants involved in the attack were anti-social elements,plain and simple. I am told that they have named themselves after Shri Ram,but they have absolutely nothing to do with the party (the BJP).
BJP president Rajnath Singh,on his way to Mysore for a pre-scheduled engagement,too,condemned the attack. And so did the RSS. Any attack of this kind is condemnable. While pub culture is alien to Indian ethos,what is needed is public education,not public violence, said former RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav.
Karnataka Home Minister Acharya,meanwhile,said that 17 of those involved in the attack had already been arrested. Sri Rama Sene is claiming responsibility for the attack but we have strong reasons to suspect that it is being used by the Congress against the BJP government. We are,meanwhile,upgrading security in public places, Acharya told The Indian Express.
Asked about former Bajrang Dal convenor and now Sri Rama Sene president Pramod Mutalliks charge about pub culture,Acharya said: Our culture doesnt encourage drinking or pubs,so dont ask me questions on this. But this Sena is definitely being used by the opposition against us. Also,the pub owners in the state would have to augment security to prevent this kind of incident in future.
Mutallik,who has earlier been in the news for claiming to raise Hindu suicide squads, and plotting attacks on churches in the state,told The Indian Express: The ways employed by our boys may be debatable but their objective was absolutely right and justified. In the last one year,there have been eight cases of suicide in Mangalore. By protesting against a culture of drugs and drinking,the boys were only helping the women there come out of this vicious circle. We will continue to fight against asatya,adharrma and anyay even if some of our men have been arrested. This is a small price to pay for a larger cause.
Mutallik has been in touch with Abhinav Bharats Himani Savarkar and others like Shrikant Purohit and Ramesh Upadhyay said to have a hand in the Malegaon blasts. A BJP insider said that this lunatic fringe had embarrassed the BJP no end in last one year.
After we deviated from the let-law-take-its-own-course line in the Sadhvi Pragya Singh episode,we ended up denting our own brand equity as the force best suited to fight terror in the country. The fringe group,that has its own worldview on issues ranging from terror to pubs to womens honour,has brought a bad name to the BJP. Some in the party,by paying lip service to their supposed cause,did the BJPs cause a lot of harm, he said on the condition that he not be named.
Mutallik,who regards Praveen Togadia as his role model,has also actively networked with those involved in the Malegaon blasts. He had also invited Abhinav Bharat president Himani Savarkar to a meet in Hubli. Asked if she agreed with the attack on women in Mangalore,Himani said: I dont know much about the attack but Indian culture doesnt approve of drinking,pubs,or dancing in skimpy clothes. Former BJP MP B L Sharma Prem who met Mutallik and others alleged to have a hand in the Malegaon blasts at a Faridabad temple last year,said that Indian culture doesnt sanction pubs or drinking but physical attacks are not a solution to this.
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