Sameer, a 19-year-old man has died of injuries sutained in a targetted attack, that took place in Karnataka’s Gadag district, allegedly soon after a Bajrang Dal event where one Sanjay Nalwad reportedly instigated anti-Muslim hate. Nalwad told the gathering that Bajrang Dal would ‘protect’ them, and that even the police ‘were with us’.
According to news reports, the Bajrang Dal event and “protest march” was held in front of Naragund police station in Gadag district on Monday morning. A policeman is seen on the stage right next to Nalwad when he is spewing anti-Muslim hate.
Sanjay Nalwad who instigated the murder of Muslims, vowed hate in a protest march in front of Naragund police station in Gadag dist yesterday morning.
— Syed Mueen (@Mueen_magadi) January 18, 2022
Sameer and Shamseer (21) from Nargund in Karnataka’s Gadag district were brutally attacked, allegedly by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) members on Monday evening, reported Maktoobmedia. Sameer succumbed to injuries on Tuesday morning at Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) hospital in Hubli and Shamseer is still in a critical condition.
#Gadag: Two Muslim youths Samir & shamshir were allegedly attacked by Sangh parivaar goons when they were returning home yesterday evening. Just for being Muslim they were thrashed & samir is no more.
— Syed Mueen (@Mueen_magadi) January 18, 2022
Soon after that the two Muslim men were attacked, Maktoob reported that a local named Hussain said that it was allegedly “RSS men” who stabbed Sameer in his chest with a knife, and also attacked Shamseer. Both Sameer and Shamseer were returning home, when they were attacked. Social media users also shared a CCTV footage that “showed the men who were waiting at Nargund State Bank near Sangarwara, stopped the bike of Sameer and Shamseer and “attacked them with deadly weapons”.
According to news reports, an FIR has been lodged at Naragund police station, and four men belonging to Bajrang Dal and RSS have been arrested.
Karnataka a Hindutva hotbed?
In the 2019 elections, out of the 130 seats in South India, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won only 30. However, the BJP won 25 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka.
Karnataka, remains the only BJP governed state in south India, and is also the hotbed of Hindutva. Muslims and Christians are often targeted by Hinduva groups in various ways. Most recently the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) denied entry to three media persons who went to cover an RSS event, which was attended by its chief Mohan Bhagwat, for “not wearing Ganvesh”, or the uniform of the sangh. The event was in Karnataka’s Kalaburagi, and the journalists were reportedly stopped from covering the sangh’s annual Sankranti Utsava, by RSS workers manning the venue’s entrance. The RSS workers reportedly insisted that the media covering the event too should be dressed in the sangh’s uniform. Vijay Mahatesh, a pracharak from Kalaburagi, reportedly said he had told all journalists covering the Sankranti Utsav to come in the mandated uniform.
Then there is the state-run college in Balagadi village of Karnataka’s Chikkamagaluru district which banned hijabs and saffron scarves on-campus on January 12, 2022, to “resolve persisting conflict between students of Muslim and Hindu communities.” Trouble began in December 2021, when Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members staged a protest wearing saffron scarves and demanded that their Muslim classmates stop wearing hijab during classes. They referred to the eight girls in the degree college out of a total of 850 students. Visuals were shared of the group sitting at the entrance gate, raising slogans against the dress code. While government colleges do not have a dress code, this is the only college that follows a uniform code.
Hindutva groups also draw strength from mainstream politicians like the BJP’s own Chikkamagaravalli Thimme Gowda Ravi who has raised “desh ke gaddaro ko goli maro!” (shoot the traitors) slogan as his reaction to the alleged “security breach” on the Prime Minister’s route in Punjab on Wednesday, December 5. He is a National general Secretary of the BJP and is also a four-time MLA from Chikmagalur. But he is no ordinary partyman, as he is also the party appointed in charge of poll-bound Goa, apart from Maharashtra & Tamil Nadu, and has chosen to fuel various conspiracy theories now in poll-bound Punjab.
Karnataka government has also passed an anti-conversion law in line with other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled states which already have such a law in place. The Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021 was tabled on December 21 by Karnataka home minister Araga Jnanendra.
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