Moral policing
The woman put up a video message alleging that police beat up her friend and her because they belonged to different communities.
Image for representation

In yet another incident of moral policing in Dakshina Kannada, an aspiring actor has called out police officials for harassing her and her friend, a Muslim youth, at Subramanya police station in the district.

Anamika*, in a video message that was published on Sunday, alleged that police beat up her and her friend because they belonged to different communities. The incident allegedly took place around two weeks ago.

In response, the Dakshina Kannada Superintendent of Police has conducted an inquiry into the matter and initiated action against the policemen guilty of harassing the actor and her friend.

The ordeal began on December 20 when Anamika and her friend were taken to Subramanya police station after police received information from the public that the duo was seen together at a temple.

A statement issued by Superintendent of Police Sudheer Kumar Reddy said that the woman was found moving alone in the night and was brought to the station based on a public complaint. “She had been brought to the local police station for inquiry. It was found that she left home without the knowledge of anyone in her family, a couple of days ago," the SP said.

The SP stated that the constables acted in an ‘inappropriate manner’ with the man and promised to take disciplinary action against the constable, head constable and the in-charge at the station at the time of the incident.

Anamika, meanwhile, slammed the police for harassing her and her friend and claimed that it was solely because her friend was a Muslim. 

She said, “In the temple, if I am calling someone on the mobile, it doesn't have to mean that I am calling him... I have friends and family, I was calling them... They claim I was using the internet or Facebook... All that they've said about us being lovers, are lies. The police did not register a complaint, but they beat both of us up. It was not police women, but a male police officer who beat me up. The main reason for this is are the police constables at the Subramanya police station -- they don't like Muslims, and that's why they targeted him (her male friend). They beat him up a lot and they abused us, because they were targeting him...”

Accusing them of bigoted, she urged police officials and others not to spoil his future.

“They repeatedly called us lovers, made all sorts of false accusations against him like he's selling girls, trafficking cattle... In the papers there was stuff like (he's into) drugs... All that is fake news. It is just because they don't like Muslims that they are saying this. There is nothing between him and me, and he hasn't done anything wrong. There is nothing between us, we were acting that's all... We came to the temple for a pooja... Don’t Muslims come to temples? Is it wrong for Muslims to come to the temple? 

These are all lies. There is nothing between us so I request you to put an end to this. Just because you have no other news, don’t make stuff up and ruin our futures. What justice is this? Stop this at this. I don’t want his future or his family future to be affected because of me,” she said in the video.

The incident is the latest in a series of similar incidents where the pairing of a Hindu woman and a Muslim man are harassed in the district.

In December, sustained pressure from a right-wing group forced a 20-year old Hindu woman to break off her relationship with a Muslim man in Mangaluru.

Members of Durga Vahini, the women’s wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, ‘counselled’ the woman, alleging that her boyfriend was a drug peddler.

In another incident, Priyanka, a resident of Daregudde was investigated by police after she went missing two days before her wedding while pro-Hindu groups claimed it was a case of ‘love jihad’.

The paranoia surrounding people from different communities having close relations led to a Hindu seer announcing that he is making preparations to form a Hindu task force to prevent such cases from happening.

The seer promised that the task force, which will include 30 women, would be functional soon in Dakshina Kannada and would involve doctors, psychiatrists, social workers and advocates.

*Name changed