10 Assaults in 30 Days: Communal Violence Sees No Stop in Karnataka
Communal violence and abuse inflicted by Hindutva groups is on the rise in Karnataka. In a span of two months the state has witnessed the brutal decapitation of Arbaz Mullah in Belagavi, the assault on an Urdu journalist covering temple demolition in Nanjangud and vandalization of a Muslim-owned mutton shop, among many others.
The assailants’ reasons for the assaults and mistreatment range from spotting an interaction between two people of different faiths to opening of a meat shop when a temple festival is underway.
As these occurrences increase in number, The Quint has compiled a list of the 10 recent events of communal violence and disharmony committed by Hindutva outfits in Karnataka.
Do Assailants Enjoy Impunity?
The alleged perpetrators from the saffron brigade seem to be enjoying protection from members of the government. When a viral video, from Bengaluru, of two Muslim men assaulting a Hindu man for riding with his Muslim colleague reached Basavaraj Bommai, chief minister of Karnataka, he declared that his “government deals with such incidents with an iron hand.” But on the other hand, while speaking about the incident where Hindutva extremists ambushed a car in Moodbidri, near Mangaluru, and allegedly threatened to burn the passengers for travelling with a Muslim driver, the CM said that this was a “social issue and we needed morality in society.”
“Peace in society and relationships are dependent on morality. When there is no morality there will be action and reaction. There is a responsibility on everyone and not just one section of society,” he said. In fact, the Hindutva groups in the Moodbidri case were left on bail on the same evening and escorted out of prison by Umanath Kotian, the BJP MLA from Moodbidri.
Here’s a list of incidents that have taken a communal turn in Karnataka.
Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad Members Force Entry Into Church, Sing Bhajans
Members of the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) were protesting ‘forced religious conversions’ when they sat down and sung Hindu bhajans in Bairidevarkoppa Church in Hubli, Karnataka. The incident took place on Sunday, 17 October, around 11 am.
The men allegedly forced their way into the church and repeated the chant “Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram”. Some people of the church, including the pastor, were allegedly attacked and admitted to a hospital with minor injuries.
Muslim Couple’s Meat Shop Vandalised by Hindutva Outfit
A meat shop owned and operated by a Muslim couple was allegedly vandalised by a Hindutva group on the outskirts of Belagavi town, Karnataka, on 8 October. The right-wing group (name unknown so far) also asked the couple to move away from the town in a threatening manner.
The outfit had demanded the closure of all meat-selling stores due to a temple inauguration. The Indian Express reported that Afsana Hasan Sab Khureshi, the owner, had adhered to the timing of the closure and had sent two of her employees to clean the shop later in the afternoon.
“That is when some of them attacked the workers, assaulted them, and vandalised the shop. When my husband and I went there after getting to know about this, they threatened us that they would not allow us to live in the town and tried to extort money from us,” she was quoted saying.
Hindutva Organisations Threaten Mangaluru’s St. Aloysius College Over Stan Swamy Memorial
Reckoned to be a joint statement by ABVP, VHP, and Bajrang Dal members, St. Aloysius College in Mangaluru, Karnataka, was threatened that any ‘untoward incident’ may take place if the institution named a park in their campus after the late Jesuit priest and tribal activist Stan Swamy.
It was an open threat issued in the early days of October and after that, the college has called off the inauguration ceremony for the park until further notice.