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Mangalore – Hindutva in expansion mode

October 20, 2008

Broken limbs (by amathad)

Guest post by APURVA MATHAD

I was recently in Mangalore with a friend, taking some time off to clear my mind. Our conversations inevitably led to the riots that had happened in the city just a month ago. He comes from a Mangalorean Catholic family though he doesn’t subscribe to any of religious practices anymore. Yet, he was clearly angry about the entire episode.

Books Vandalised (by amathad)

During a small tour of the city, we visited a place called the “Sisters of Poor Clare’s “Adoration Monastery”, commonly referred to just “Adoration Monastery”. It is a small discreet building with a small chapel and houses a group of nuns who have cloistered themselves, dependent on the charity of people for their survival. They take prayer petitions from people and intercede on their behalf. This was the first place that was attacked in retaliation to the allegation of forced conversions. The broken pieces of glass, the bent monstrance, the torn books and the broken cross of Christ are still as they are, serving as a reminder that the events are not past and that they are still fresh in the memory of the people here. This small place of worship, just a stone’s throw away from Milagres (a famous church with its own website), is evidence against the consistent statements of the Karnataka administration that only those place that were involved in “forceful” conversions were targeted.

It has been over a month since the riots in Mangalore but the anger has not gone away. It is not just the vandalism of the Bajrang Dal and the continuing attacks on churches in Karnataka that has contributed to their anger, but also the statements of the chief minister and the home minister who have sided with the Bajrang Dal. The manner in which the police used indiscriminate and excessive force on peaceful protesters including women and nuns who had assembled in Milagres square, only added to the resentment of the Catholics. There are also rumours that it was not the police who beat the protesters but Bajrang Dal dressed in police uniforms. The (in)actions of the chief minister has infuriated the Catholic community.

Broken glasses III (by amathad)

First, they maintained that Bajrang Dal was not involved in spite of Mahendra Kumar, Bajrang Dal State Convener, openly admitting to have been involved in the attacks. Yeduyurappa instituted a judicial probe into the acts of violence only after considerable pressure was exerted upon him. The continuing violence in Orissa where BJP is a minor partner of the ruling coalition has not helped either.

In a city that has never known communal violence and where Bajrang Dal has never really had a strong presence, the recent events are disturbing and begs the question as to whether the Gujarat experiment is being replicated in Karnataka and Orissa.

(Apurva Mathad works in Bangalore and blogs as Madhat.)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 26, 2008 7:23 AM

    Hi,
    Thought you could put this up on the site. Extremely significant development, for the Pejawar Math, like its sister concern Admar Math, was considered pro-Right, and had even participated in the Ram Janmabhumi movement. Viswesha Tirtha, the pontiff of Pejawar Math, was assaulted when he attempted an inspection of the SEZ and spoke against the BJP government in Karnataka. Now the Math is seeking common cause with Christian and Muslim communities to oppose the SEZ!

    This was published in The Hindu, Nov 26.

    http://www.hindu.com/2008/11/26/stories/2008112651590600.htm

    Pejawar seer questions Government’s commitment towards people

    MANGALORE: Criticising the State Government for not taking a “pro-people” and “pro-environment” stand on the proposed Mangalore Special Economic Zone project, Sri Vishwesha Tirtha Swamiji of Pejawar Math has said that he does not trust the Bharatiya Janata Party Government of being serious about preventing the entry of harmful and polluting industries.

    The seer urged the Government to reconsider its stand on the mega-project. “I am with your struggle till the end,” he declared amid rousing applause from a large gathering of anti-SEZ activists who were attending a seminar on Development of coastal districts, organised by the Nagarika Seva Trust, Guruvayankere, on Tuesday.

    Demanding that the Rs. 35,000-crore MSEZ project be limited to Phase I, he said: “There is not much we can do about stopping the Phase I of the project, since the land has already been acquired. But the 2,035 acres of land earmarked for the Phase II of the project should not go through at any cost.”

    Describing mega-industrial projects as “a curse on Mother Earth,” he demanded that a study on the carrying capacity of the region be conducted.

    “When the railways and the ports of the region began improving we were happy. But now they have become an entry point for polluting industries,” he lamented.

    Clarifying that he was not against development and industrialisation, the seer said that development should happen in an equitable manner. He opined that when industries get overly concentrated in one region, it could lead to imbalances in economy as well degeneration of environment.

    “Everyone should bear the burden of industries, they are a necessary evil. But you cannot select one place and dump all the evil on it,” he said.

    Advocating a policy of decentralisation, he said: “Spiritualism, wealth and education should never become the preserve of a few. When development of any sort is restricted to only one section, it leads to degeneration of society.”

    Referring to the Vicar General of the Mangalore Catholic Diocese Danis Moras Prabhu and the pontiff of the Hawwa Jumma Masjid, Bolangady Maoulana Yahya Tangal as well as the seers of the Kollya and Khemaru Math who shared the stage with him, the seer said that the time has come to put aside religious differences.

    “Our in-principle differences on issues of religion can be sorted out later. But right now we must unite to save our land, livelihood and our heritage,” he said calling on all religious leaders to join the anti-SEZ movement.

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  1. Global Voices Online » India: Mangalore violence

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