Sri Rama Sene president Pramod Muthalik, and top aides of his outfit, were caught on camera agreeing to vandalise an art exhibition in return for money in an undercover investigation by the magazine Tehelka broadcast on news channel Headlines Today on Thursday night.
According to a press release issued by the channel, the right wing outfit, which shot to fame after attacking women in a pub in Mangalore last year, was seen accepting a “a token contribution of Rs. 10,000 to the cause of Hindutva” from an undercover Tehelka reporter who posed as an artist. The “artist” told Mr. Muthalik he wanted to “shoot to fame like artist M.F. Husain.” Mr. Muthalik put the reporter in touch with his aides who would help vandalise the artist's exhibition at a “sensitive Muslim-dominated locality,” the press release stated. The investigation took six weeks to complete.
Mr. Muthalik is seen agreeing to stage what the channel called the “rent-a-riot” operation in Mangalore or Bangalore. Vasant Kumar Bhavani, Sri Rama Sene's Bangalore head, also suggested that Karnataka Minister for Wakf and Minorities Welfare Mumtaz Ali Khan be invited as the chief guest for the proposed exhibition. It was decided that 50 “boys” would be sent to do the job along the lines of the Mangalore incident, the release stated.
According to the release, the reporter met national vice-president of the Sri Rama Sene, Prasad Attavar, in prisons in Mangalore and Bellary to discuss how the riot would be staged.
“The investigations establish how the self-styled custodians of ‘Hindu culture' function…They are not ideological custodians of ‘Hindu culture.' Their ideology, in fact, appears to be dictated by cold calculation of hard cash,” the release stated.