By M Raghuram | Place: Mangalore | Agency: DNA

After making international headlines for moral policing and attacking pubs and churches, the vigilante groups in Mangalore have now started targeting academicians for expressing a broader social outlook.

In a bid to humiliate an academician, a vigilante group member smeared cow dung on a Mangalore University professor’s face in broad daylight. Prof Somayaji had come to a restaurant near Mahaveer Circle for lunch. A youth, who was holding fresh cow dung, approached his table. “At first, I did not suspect anything. The man just smeared the dung on my face, abused me and, even before I knew what was happening, he left,” said the professor.

The lecturer has filed a complaint with Kankanady police. “Mangalore has become a hotbed for vigilantism. We do not have the freedom to express our views in public. Even those in power are not doing anything about it,” he said. Bajrang Dal owned responsibility of carrying out the operation. “It was our activist Bharat, who smeared cow dung on the professor’s face. Somayaji has been making inflammatory speeches on platforms provided to him by political outfits like Popular Front of India. This has hurt the sentiments of many on several occasions,” alleged Sharan Pumpwell, district general secretary of Bajrang Dal. “Our workers had been tracking him. He had also been supporting the cause of Naxals. What irked us more was that he was a government employee and an assistant professor in the University College. He should resign from his job if he wanted to sympathise with the Naxals,” Pumpwell said.It could be recalled that, in 2010, Somayaji made a speech in a rally organised by the Popular Front of India resulting in the rustication of some students. The university officials, however, were tight-lipped about the incident.