Moral police: five Bajrang Dal activists arrested in Karnataka for assaulting medical students
Five members of a right-wing group have been arrested for allegedly harassing and mistreating a group of medical students in another reported moral police incident on the Karnataka coast.
A senior police officer identified the defendants as Preetham Shetty, Arshith, Srinivas, Rakesh and Abhishek, members of Bajrang Dal. One case was registered under sections 341 of the IPC (undue hardship), 323 (willful injury) and 504 (intentional insult).
According to law enforcement sources, the incident took place on Sunday evening when six second-year MBBS students were returning from Malpe Beach. The defendants stopped their car at the Surathkal checkpoint, asked for their names and questioned the women “to be in the company of Muslims”. The activists then manhandled the students, when traffic inspector Sharif – who was there – defused the situation and fired them.
A case was registered and the accused were later arrested. Mangaluru Police Commissioner N Shashi Kumar said the plaintiffs said they were returning from a picnic and did not know who the attackers were. They demanded the names of the students and attacked them. While the accused claimed that some of the youths harassed women in the vehicle, the investigation found that the complainants’ claims were true, he said.
This is the fifth recently reported moral policing incident in the state. During the second week of September, a Bengaluru-based woman and her colleagues were assaulted in Puttur, Dakshina Kannada district, for talking to a Muslim man. Around the same time, a Muslim woman and a Hindu man, who is her colleague, were assaulted in Bengaluru for traveling together by bicycle on their way home from work. Two people were subsequently arrested in this case.
In Bantwal in Dakshina Kannada district, six paramedic students were attacked by a gang of five while visiting the Karinja temple. Three of them were arrested for illegally restraining students and assaulting them simply because they were from different communities.
In March, a 23-year-old Muslim, Aswid Anwar Mohammed, was stabbed for traveling with his Hindu friend from Mangaluru to Bangalore. Four Bajrang Dal activists were later detained.