Bajrang Dal activists abused them, cast aspersions on their character

A group of Hindu women were at the receiving end when a prayer hall run by Word of Victory Ministries at Kattingeri village, about 12 km from Udupi, was attacked late on Friday night. The attackers abused the women and allegedly cast aspersions on their character.

Sujata Moolthi of the village said one of the attackers spoke to her in uncivilised language. When she tried to call her husband on the mobile phone, the attackers snatched it away, she said.

Sumithra Shetty of Belle village was also abused. The two women said some of the men were drunk and they “tried to fall on us”.

Seven persons were injured in the attack, including an 80-year-old woman.

Sub-inspector of the Shirva police station K.R. Naik told The Hindu on Sunday that the 19 persons arrested for the attack belonged to the Bajrang Dal.

The women said they have been attending prayers voluntarily and nobody in their family was opposed to it.

“My father suggested that I attend the prayers,” Ms. Shetty said.

Ms. Moolthi said everyone in the village knew that she was attending the prayers and nobody had ever objected to it. Four other members of her family also attend the prayers, she said.

Shashikala of Manipal, who was present when the attack happened, said she and her husband had been voluntarily coming to the prayers.

The prayer hall is attached to the farmhouse of Pastor Roshan Rajesh Lobo, located on a hillock off Katpadi-Nalku Beedi Junction Road. The Word of Victory Ministries is part of the Indian Christian Federation.

The pastor and people participating the prayer told The Hindu that inciting speeches delivered at the recent inauguration of a Bajrang Dal unit at Mattar village nearby was a warning for them.

Denying allegations of conversion, Mr. Lobo said not a single Hindu had been converted during the last 12 years. The police too said there was no complaint of any conversion.

Twisted versions

Meanwhile, twisted versions of what happens during prayers at the Kattingeri prayer hall has been doing the round on a social media website. Mr. Lobo told The Hindu, “We are not partying here. All that we do during the prayer is wave hands.”

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