Karnataka: Why has the Hindu Jagarana Vedike reactivated its aggression now?

Mob assaulted and manhandled a Muslim journalist, another disrupted a church service

HindutvaImage Courtesy:thecognate.com

Karnataka based Hindutva group Hindu Jagarana Vedike on Thursday assaulted and manhandled a Muslim journalist who had gone to cover a protest organised by the group. Members of the group were protesting the demolition of temples in Mysuru.

According to local media reports, the Hindu Jagarana Vedike members had called for a protest “the demolition of temples, especially the Adishakti Mahadevamma temple at Huchgani village in Nanjangud taluk”. However, they turned on and assaulted journalist Mohammed Safdar Kaiser, the chief editor of Urdu daily, The Daily Kausar who was recording the “confrontation of MLA SA Ramadas by the protesters”. Some members of the right-wing group reportedly took objection to Kaiser video recording the incident and manhandled him.

News reports stated that even though the police personnel present at the protest site tried to rescue the journalist from being manhandled the Hindutva mob continued to assault him. The police eventually managed to take Kaiser to a safe space, and he later lodged a complaint at Deveraja Police Station. The Mysore District Journalist Association (MDJA) has written to the Commissioner of Police seeking action against the assailants and more security for journalists.

The Vedike’s South India Convenor Jagadish Karanth has in fact given a “10-day deadline” to the Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to “initiate action against officers responsible for the demolition of the Huchagani Mahadevamma temple in Mysuru” reported News Karnataka portal. He said if the CM does not take any action the outfit will launch a protest march to his residence”. 

Karanth ‘warned’ that “this should be the first and last case in the state. The present government is doing what invaders Ghazni, Ghori, Khasim and Tipu Sultan have done to the Hindu temples. This must be ended.” According to a report on the webportal Munsif, Karanth also attacked the Chief Secretary, and told the gathering, “He is giving orders to demolish temples every day according to the media reports. If it is true, he must be really stupid. You must read the Supreme Court order first. It is very clear, vacating the temple is the last option. If it is built before 2008, the temple has to be regularised.” He alleged that the demolition orders were given even though local villagers were “ready to give land for the temple”.

The Hindu Jagaran Vedike members also alleged that the government was only serving notices to Masjids and Christian religious centres but was demolishing Hindu temples without talking to locals and giving any options to shift locations. 

Last week, members of the Vedike had raided the Karkala Pragathi church in Udupi, reported The New Indian Express news reports. They alleged that the priests are involved in a conversion racket. According to news reports the mob barged into the church demanding that prayer meetings be stopped. The pastor, Benedict, complained to the Karkala town police who subsequently registered a case under sections 143, 147, 149, 504, 506, 323 and 354 of IPC. The section of 354 of IPC was invoked as there was an allegation that the Vedike members misbehaved with the women.

According to the news report, Benedict organised prayer meetings at a hall located near Doopadakatte in Karkala earlier. “However, based on a complaint by the public on July 15, 2021, that religious conversion was the motive behind his initiative of organising prayer meetings, a case was registered by the police and he was warned against holding any religious meetings without permission,” said a local news report. The venue was shifted to a hall in Kukkundoor on friday when the HJV group barged in and announced that prior permission from the local police was required to conduct any religious gathering apart from “regular prayer conducted at temples, mosques and churches.” It was reported that the police investigations revealed that a man identified as Sunil alleged that two months ago Benedict “spoke ill about Hinduism and urged him to attend the prayer to be conducted by him.” Based on Sunil’s complaint, a case was registered against Benedict under sections 295A and 298 of IPC for his alleged deliberate act, intended to outrage religious feelings by insulting a religion.


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