Mangalore: From an outsiders point of view, Mangalore with its booming economy looks like any other cosmopolitan city in the making. However, behind this facade is a deep divide within the society which is leading to frequent frictions that some call ‘attack on individuals freedom’; while others describe it as an ‘attempt to protect Hindu culture’.
Not everyone here condemns the July 28 raid on Morning Mist homestay, although they do not approve of moral police’s misbehaviour with women. “It was an attempt to save the Hindu culture by letting people know what was happening in the homestay,” says a renowned educationist from the region who does not want to be named. “Let the police take action against youth if they misbehave with girls, but we should not treat it as a law and order problem. It is a big problem as youngsters are falling prey to western culture and are being exploited by unscrupulous elements,” he argued.
Dakshina Kannada district VHP Working President Jagadish Shenava has no qualms in defending the accused. “Many days before the attack, a complaint against the homestay was given to police. Since police did nothing, some youth made an attempt to expose illegal activities. There are around 150 such home-stays here. If those youth had other intentions, why would they go with TV channel crew?” he asked.
Not everyone condemns the July 28 raid on Morning Mist homestay, although they don\'t approve of the moral policing.
Noted lawyer PP Hegde says people who have violated the law should be punished, but police are harassing the innocent, who have not even entered the house. Hegde is defending two of the 26 accused in the case. Expectantly, not everyone in Mangalore is supporting the hardliners. “Frustrated youngsters are used by right wing Hindu groups that are behind many such incidents. The situation here is as bad as it once used to be in Hitler’s Germany,” says Dr B S Kakkilaya, a longtime Mangalorean.
“The confidence of our city is shaken. People are scared and it would have a very bad impact on the flow of investment into the district,” says Walter D’Souza, chairman of Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation. “Powerful people are behind such incidents.” Some like former chairperson, State Women’s Commission Philomena Peris call the attackers as “goonda elements”. “Mangalore has suffered enough. It is time to stand up and fight against these elements that are trying to create terror among people.”