Mangalore: Two persons have been detained for the attack on the daughter of a Kerala MLA and her male friend in Mangalore on Friday. The self-proclaimed moral brigade, Sri Ram Sene (SRS) allegedly attacked the two for travelling together. However, while speaking to CNN-IBN, SRS chief Pramod Muthalik denied the involvement of his Hindu religious outfit in the incident.
Muthalik not only denied SRS' involvement in the attack but also condemned it, calling it a conspiracy to defame his group.
"We have nothing to do with it. It's a conspiracy to defame Sri Ram Sene. We condemn this incident. We may even have to go to court if slander against SRS continues like this," he said.
However, the girl's father C H Kunhambu doesn't believe Muthalik and he continues to blame the Sri Ram Sene for his daughter's abduction. The state government is facing severe criticism.
"Some people forcibly took out my daughter and her friend from the bus and forced them into an auto. They accused her of talking to a Muslim boy despite being a Hindu girl. I suspect all these saffron groups like Bajrang Dal or Sri Ram Sene after this incident," he said.
Meanwhile there have been strong reactions concerning Friday's incident in the government as well.
Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhary says that the Karnataka government is unable to control the law and order in the state and the current trend in the state seems to be dangerous.
"The state government is not in control of the law and order situation. Talibanisation is happening, it's a dangerous trend and I am expecting incidents to take place on February 14," she said. We will see what needs to be done, we are not helpless," she said.
Hinting at a political conspiracy to defame the BJP govt in the state, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Saturday said that the police has been given a free hand to take strict action against the perpetrators.
"Two-three incidents happened in Mangalore continuously and I told our police officers to take strict action. I don't want to blame anybody but intentionally things are planned to get bad name for out govt, but we will not allow these things to happen," he said.
According to reports SRS activists allegedly barged into the bus in which the MLA's daughter was travelling and picked her up as well as her male friend, dragged them out of the bus and took them away in an auto rickshaw. However, both of them were set free after a few hours.
In her report to the police Shruti said the men were angered by the fact that her companion was a Muslim.
Karnataka Western Range Inspector General AM Prasad said Shruti was returning from her native place when the incident happened. Police have confirmed that both of them are safe now. Police also say two people have been arrested.
Mangalore Superintendent of Police N Sathish Kumar added that a police team has gone to Shruti's local guardians' house in Mangalore to record her statement.
"Four people have been identified out of which two have been arrested and they are from Kerala. We are trying to find out the name of the organisation to which they are affiliated. Their motive will be known only when we arrest the other two people. The investigation is on and all the people involved in the incident have been identified," he stated.
Shruti's father, Kerala MLA CH Kunhambu earlier told CNN-IBN that he suspected SRS to be behind the abduction.
"I strongly believe that Sri Ram Sene and Bajrang Dal activists were behind this incident. The boy was from a different community. They were going back to their college after vacations. I have filed a complaint with the police," he stated.
"The incident happened in the afternoon. I believe that the driver and conductor of the bus are involved in the incident. They contacted these gundas (goons) to attack my child. She was forcibly taken away in an auto," he added.
Shruti and her friend are second year students at the St Alosyius College in the city. They are both studying the pre-university course. The boy has been identified as Shabib and is Shruti's classmate's brother.
State Home Minister, V S Acharya says it was an isolated incident and police could not have anticipated it.
Meanwhile, Kerala's Home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan is concerned over the issue and doesn't want Malayalee students studying in Karnataka to be caught in the crossfire.
"We are trying to get in touch with the Karnataka Home Minster and we shall raise this with the state government there. It's the responsibilty of Karnataka government to give enough security to Malayalees who go there to study," he stated.
SRS has been in the news for all the wrong reasons after storming a pub in Mangalore on January 24 and attacking and molesting the women present there in the name of moral values and ethics.
Meanwhile, the Congress has criticised BJP for raking up a controversial subject at a time when that party is allegedly bereft of a poll issue.
"Rama is used and abused. In his name the Sri Ram Sene is ripping off women's clothes and in Delhi, BJP remembers Rama only at election time. Rama will never forgive them," said Congress Spokesperson Manish Tiwari.