Bajrang Dal and Durga Vahini target youth in Mangalore3 min read
Mangalore: Seven students were taken to the Pandeshwar Police station from Roxx ice cream lounge at Attavar, Mangalore at around 6:30pm on January 29 after members of the Bajrang Dal and Durga Vahini, their women’s wing, received complaints from residents that a few girls were allegedly smoking cannabis.
Station Inspector C. N. Divakar said that the students were sent home soon after inquiries proved that they were not involved in illegal activities. Since smoking cigarettes is legal over the age of 18, no charges were registered.
Accompanied by two policemen, the troop marched towards the terrace over the lounges on the first two floors and ordered the students to go to the police station as their behavior was ‘illegal’ and against the ‘Mangalorean culture’. As the students protested their innocence, some members started to verbally abuse the girls for smoking, claimed the manager of Roxx, Deepak Shetty.
He said, “A group of three girls and one boy came in at around 5:30pm. When I left them only the boy was smoking. At 6:15pm, two policemen, ten women and more men from Bajrang Dal went to the terrace and started yelling that the girls were smoking. When I tried to interfere, they threatened me and said they will beat me if I don’t stay out of it. The policemen said they will handle the issue but only after the men were done shouting.” He also added that another party of four who’d arrived later but were also in the terrace area was taken into custody.
Speaking to TMJ about the incident, Bajrang Dal Convenor Sharan Pumpwell said that they decided to make a move after receiving complaints from residents for a month. He said, “The second and third floor of Roxx have music system and dance area where students smoke ganja, drink and the boys and girls do other things.” Responding to queries regarding the behavior of his men he added, “It is false. They did not abuse anybody. They may have only asked names of the students and their colleges. As per law smoking is legal above the age of 18, but we are against it. Besides, those below the age of 18 also go there and smoke. Our culture, here in Mangalore is going.”
Complementing Pumpwell’s statement was the Convenor of Durga Vahini, Vijayshree, who stated that the girls’ smoking was not right and their behavior with the boys was not of a platonic nature.
A student from Mangalore who wishes to remain anonymous told TMJ that an innocent outing was misconstrued due to the involvement of Bajrang Dal. Explaining this, she said, “I know the students who went there. They were only smoking cigarettes, which isn’t wrong and Roxx is a perfectly innocent place. It seems like a communal issue because the owner of Roxx is a Muslim which is why they complain against it in the first place. It’s only because of the Bajrang Dals’ stronghold that they were taken to the station anyway. The police spoke to them and let them off after a while because of this.”
Sub-edited by Sabari Saran