Our Special Correspondent
Bangalore, March 16: Mangalore police today arrested five suspected Bajrang Dal men who stopped a group of college students from proceeding on a study tour as some of the boys on the co-ed trip were from a particular community.
The men later attacked passing vehicles and vandalised a madarsa.
S. Murugan, police commissioner of the southern Karnataka city, said the five had been charged with inciting tension and destroying property, while a Swift car they used to move around had been seized.
“We are keeping a close watch on the situation there, although nothing untoward was reported after yesterday’s incidents,” he said, adding a truckload of armed policemen were maintaining vigil in the area, Mudipu, where tense residents remained indoors through the whole of Sunday.
The madarsa was attacked early on Sunday, a little after the Bajrang Dal activists had stoned the bus carrying the students f Mudipu First Grade College late on Saturday night and forced everyone to get off.
College authorities later called off the 350km trip to Bangalore, where the 38 students would have visited the state legislature to get a first-hand experience of Assembly proceedings.
Saturday’s assault was the latest incidence of violence in multi-cultural Mangalore, where Sangh parivar moral cops kidnapped a 20-year-old last month and beat him black and blue after a playful shot of the boy lying on the laps of five female classmates went viral on social media.
The boy was from a different community.
On Saturday night, the activists of the Bajrang Dal, also a Sangh affiliate, stoned the bus and forced the students and their four teachers to get off. Among the students – a multi-religious group that included Hindus, Muslims and Christians – were 14 girls.
The activists also attacked a passing autorickshaw and beat up some of the passengers. Some local policemen who reached the spot suffered minor injuries after being hit with stones.
The Bajrang activists later raised slogans before some of them threw stones at a madarsa, breaking a couple of windowpanes.
Mangalore assistant commissioner D.R. Ashok, who visited Mudipu, said the situation was “calm” today. “I met the administrators of the madarsa and local Hindus. They have agreed to maintain peace and sought the arrest of the culprits who spoilt peace in the area,” Ashok said, adding that an incident of such intensity had never happened before in Mudipu, some 20km from Mangalore city towards the Kerala border.
Minister and local MLA U.T. Khader, under whose guidance the trip had been organised, called the violence unfortunate. “I don’t know why these people are giving a communal colour to everything,” he said. “I assured the college authorities and the students that strict action would be taken against the culprits, whoever they might me.”
The college’s nodal officer, Nand Kishore, said the tour was purely educational and aimed at giving the students an idea of Assembly proceedings. “We have written permissions from the parents of all the students who were on the bus to go to Bangalore,” he told reporters in Mudipu.
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