Youth in Bangalore and other parts of Karnatake are determined not to bow down before moral cops and say they will vote for candidates who stand for freedom and against forcible enforcement of one's view on others.
The youth see the upcoming Lok Sabha polls as an opportunity to make the right choice.
"There is a subtle sense of fear in Bangalore. Recent incidents are a testimony that we're not safe. In the name of moral policing, women are attacked. So was a man a few days back," said first-time voter Shikha Gowda (18), who is pursuing her bachelor of arts at Mount Carmel College.
"We're not going to bow down in front of moral cops. Who are they to tell us what is right and wrong? I will cast my vote for the candidate who will ensure our safety and security and punish all anti-social elements," Shikha told IANS.
Agreeing with Shikha's view, Utpal Agarwal, a 21-year-old postgraduate student of mass communication at Bangalore University, said it was the young people of Bangalore who had come under attack by moral cops.
"It is sad that in a metropolis like Bangalore, women are attacked by miscreants on the pretext of wearing western outfits. We are citizens of a free society and we should not allow the goons to take over our lives. I am going to vote for the candidate who promises to make the city free from moral policing and hooliganism," said Agarwal.
Since Feb 17, when the first attack on a woman in the upscale Indiranagar area happened, around 10 such cases have been reported from different parts of the city. All the cases follow a pattern as motor-cycle borne attackers target women by physically and verbally abusing them for wearing western outfits.
On Sunday, the first incident of an attack on a man was reported. Jagdeesh B N was attacked for apparently wearing a sleeveless T-shirt.
"This is the time of reckoning. Youth, the harbinger of change, need to think seriously before they cast their vote for any candidate. I would suggest to the young voters to consider the contributions and promises made by the candidates before voting," said D Jeevan Kumar, director of the Centre for Gandhian Studies, Bangalore University.
"The cases of attack on people in Bangalore and Mangalore in the name of moral policing are shameful. Youth, who form a major chunk of the voting population, need to think carefully before voting."
In nearby Mangalore city, 350 km from Bangalore, a series of attacks on youth by Hindutva groups has happened after the infamous attack on women at a pub in Bangalore by activists of the Sri Rama Sene (Army of Lord Rama) on Jan 24.
Around 50 percent of Bangalore's population belongs to the age group of 18-39.
"My verdict will go against those who are supporting moral policing in Bangalore and tarnishing the good old name of the city," said Arpan Majumdar, a final year student of the Rashtriya Vidyalaya Engineering College.
"I am against moral policing of any kind. My vote will be to make the city a safe haven for one and all," smiled Praveen Jindal, who is pursuing his doctorate in medicine at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine.
The polling day in Bangalore is April 23.