An accessories store owner in Mangalore, Zabeullah, was on Monday attacked by a gang when he was escorting one of his women employees home. She happened to be a Hindu and the attackers allegedly accused Zabeullah of being a 'love jihadist' as they assaulted him.
The police have arrested six Bajrang Dal activists for the attack and identified them as Prasad (21), Arun (24), Rakshit (21), Praveen (26), Deepak (26) and Yuvaraj (23).
"The police should try and figure out why these attacks are happening instead of projecting the Bajrang Dal as criminals. These attacks are bound to occur as long as love jihad is not stopped," said Sharan Pumpwell, Bajrang Dal state president.
Coming to the defence of the six attackers, senior lawyer and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Jagadish Shenava told HT, "We don't believe in violence. But they (sic.) should leave our women and cows alone or be prepared for a massive retaliation."
The latest incident was the 56th such attack in and around Mangalore city this year according to statistics compiled with the help of records provided by the police and the local unit of the PUCL.
While 50 were carried out by Hindu outfits, six of these attacks were carried out by Muslim fundamentalists who objected to Muslim women fraternizing with Hindu men.
There have also been 18 attacks against cattle traders by Hindutva activists since January this year in the same region.
R Hitendra, Mangalore police commissioner, however, said he was powerless in stopping these incidents. "Most often these groups act after the parents of the girl approach them with complaints. What can we do to stop that?" he said.