PFI carries out vigilante attack in Mangalore

October 07, 2009 12:00 am | Updated March 05, 2010 12:40 pm IST

Sudipto Mondal

Muslim girl and Hindu boy assaulted for having a relationship

PFI is a member of the Karnataka Communal Harmony Forum

MANGALORE: A Hindu boy and Muslim girl, who visited a restaurant together, were attacked in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office here on Tuesday by cadres of the Popular Front of India (formerly Karnataka Forum for Dignity).

Claiming responsibility for the attack, district general secretary of PFI Ataullah said the attack was because the boy and the girl were involved in a “romantic relationship”. They were from Belvai in Moodabidri, 30 km from here, he added.

Eyewitnesses told The Hindu that a group of 40 men surrounded the restaurant and demanded that the boy and the girl step outside. Once outside, they were assaulted, berated and then separated.

While eyewitnesses said that the boy and the girl were taken away by the cadres of PFI, Mr. Ataullah said that they set the boy free “after a few blows”. Nevertheless, Mr. Ataullah confirmed that the girl was in the custody of PFI cadres when The Hindu spoke to him. “She has been taken to a safe place and our boys have asked her father to come to the city from Moodabidri,” he said.

Justifying the action of PFI cadres, Mr. Ataullah said: “The PFI does not condemn the action. However, the organisation always advises its cadres to refrain from involving in issues such as this. But how can we or our boys keep quiet when one of our women is courted by a boy from another community?”

PFI is a member of the Karnataka Communal Harmony Forum or Karnataka Komu Soharda Vedike (KKSV). Pattabhirama Somayyaji, honorary president of KKSV, said: “In my understanding, the PFI does not have that sort of an agenda. It might have been carried out by some people in their individual capacity. They might not have been carrying out the wishes of the organisation.” He described the statements of Mr. Ataullah as “his personal view”. He, however, condemned the attack.

Superintendent of Police A.S. Rao saidefforts were on to trace the victims of attack.

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