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Bajrang Dal’s Moral Policing in Poll-Bound Karnataka

Bajrang Dal’s Moral Policing in Poll-Bound Karnataka


Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, Mar 18: Bajrang Dal activists stopped a party of women organised in a private hotel in Shivamogga in Karnataka on Friday night on the ground that such parties were not in keeping with Indian culture. Around 70 participants, a majority of them women, were told to leave the venue.

Activists of Bajrang Dal, under the leadership of Rajesh Gowda, gathered in front of Hotel Cliff Embassy on Kuvempu Road late in the evening to protest against the party inside. Doddapete Police reached the spot. Within a few minutes, all the women, and the men accompanying them were forced to leave the hotel.

Rajesh Gowda, district convener of Bajrang Dal, told mediapersons that they had information about the women’s party (Ladies Night). “This is not part of our culture. We will not allow such events in Shivamogga because we do not want our city to become another Manipal,” he stated.  “We had information about the ladies’ party in the hotel. We urged the police to stop it. However, as the event was not called off, we intervened, along with the Doddapete police, and ensured it was stopped.”

He claimed that women taking part in such events is against ‘Hindu culture’. “The Bajrang Dal would not tolerate such events in Shivamogga,” he said and, among other things, objected to the attire of the women at the party. He claimed that his organisation did not take the law into their hands, but instead informed the police, who stopped the party.

But the police insisted that they did not stop the party. Shivamogga Superintendent of Police G.K. Mithun Kumar said as soon as he received information about a group trying to stop the party, police officers were sent to the spot. “The police intervened and prevented any untoward incident. We did not stop the party,” he said.

The hotel staff claim that both the police and Bajrang Dal activists entered the party hall and told their customers to leave. Representatives of the hotel said it was an event organised for female customers. Shankar K., general manager of the hotel, said, “We wanted to organise an event on March 8 to mark International Women’s Day. We could not do that due to other engagements. So we scheduled the event for March 17. Around 70 customers had gathered. The participants were women, and a few men who had accompanied them.” “There was nothing objectionable at the party. We don’t know why the police and the activists stopped the party,” Mr Shankar said.

“Our hotel has a good reputation. In fact, we have hosted VIPs, including people from the office of the Prime Minister, during the recent visit of PM Narendra Modi to Shivamogga. All senior officials of the district administration know about this. If we have done anything wrong, we are ready to accept it. But we did not do anything of the sort. We don’t know why they are obstructing us from doing our business,” he added.




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