Stamping ‘moral police’ as rowdies, Muthalik, Bajrang Dal and PFI have different takes

Cultural vigilantes say these elements do deserve to be called rowdy sheeters
Stamping ‘moral police’ as rowdies, Muthalik, Bajrang Dal and PFI have different takes
Stamping ‘moral police’ as rowdies, Muthalik, Bajrang Dal and PFI have different takes

The Karnataka state government has recently decided to act tough on those indulging in moral policing. According to instructions that have been passed on from the Chief Minister’s office to the top cops and to all police stations in the state, vigilantes will be added to the list of history or rowdy sheeters. That’s not all; these people will be booked under non-bailable sections of sections of the IPC and various acts.

With the government clamping down on vigilantes, it’s only natural that one expects there would be protests from those groups that have been involved or alleged to have been involved in moral policing incidents.

Surprise, surprise- almost everyone agrees with the government. And according to all the groups The News Minute spoke to, vigilantes do deserve to be called rowdy sheeters.

Pramod Muthalik of Sri Ram Sene says moral policing happens when the police fail to act. “However, nobody has the right to indulge in violence,” he added.

The man whose group shot to infamy after visuals of them thrashing women outside a pub in Manguluru thinks the government’s decision is acceptable.

"The Karnataka government's decision is okay. It is wrong to indulge in violence- that is hitting and beating the girl and boy, who are of different religions, when they are found together is not going to work. Instead, they should be spoken to and their parents should be informed," Muthalik said.

Home Minister KJ George and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, in different occasions, have said that moral police is illegal and will be handled firmly.

State President of the Bajrang Dal, Sharan Pumpwell said, "There are two issues in Mangaluru that the police is not paying attention to. One is illegal cow transportation. Two, there is a huge network of illegal drug and sex mafia which is targeting girls and women. So, maybe when we tried to oppose them, they thought we were trying to take law in our hands."

"However, even when we realise there is a problem, we immediately inform the police and request the police to take action. We do not indulge in any illegal activities as the government claims. If the government immediate takes action and keeps a check on these illegal activities, then there is no need for us to act at all," Pumpwell added. 

Pumpwell told The News Minute that members of Bajrang Dal want to be proactive and they could have acted in an individual capacity.

State president of Popular Front of India (PFI), Mohamed Shahid also felt the decision was good especially when people repeat these offences.

"The Karnataka government's decision is in the right direction and the government must not buckle under any pressure and must work on implementing this decision." Mohamed Shahid.

"Members and dropouts of PFI might have been involved in these activities in the past. The stand of the PFI is that irrespective of the person's membership status with the organisation and the person's religion, the offender must be punished," said Mohamed Shahid

According to the Karnataka communal harmony forum there were 45 moral policing incidents in Mangalore in 2013 — 23 carried out by right-wing Hindu groups and 16 by Muslim activists. In 2014, there were 39 such incidents in the city— 25 by Hindu outfits and 14 by Muslim groups and in 10 cases have been reported this year. 

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