A rightwing Hindu group on Thursday said it has abandoned plans to protest Valentine's Day celebrations in Karnataka, fearing that the outfit will be blamed for any violence on February 14.
"We fear that any violence on that day will be blamed on us. Hence, we have called off the agitation in entire Karnataka, not just Bangalore," Prasad Attavar, vice convenor of Sri Rama Sene (army of god Rama), said by phone from Mangalore, about 350 km from in Bangalore.
He denied the Sene was giving up the agitation in the face of outrage against its threat to marry off young couples found publicly displaying their affection to each other on the Valentine's Day.
"The campaign like sending pink underpants to us is cheap. Our decision is not influenced by any campaign against our protest."
"We have information that there is a conspiracy by certain groups to create violence on that day so that our organisation will get a bad name," Attavar, who had justified the attack on women in a Mangalore pub by Sene men January 24, told IANS.
He claimed that some people from Kerala, bordering Dakshina Kannada district, had planned to create problems in the neighbouring Udupi district on the Valentine's Day.
"We have lodged a First Information Report (FIR) with Udupi police on this," Attavar said.
"We have also informed the state government that the Sene has given up agitation plans," said Attavar, who was arrested along with 27 others for the Mangalore pub attack and later released on bail.
On Wednesday, Sene founder Pramod Muthalik told IANS that his moral brigade won't be prowling on the streets February 14.
"I have told my people that they should not take out any procession or hold demonstrations or accost young couples on the day (February 14)," he said.
"We have achieved our purpose. Our aim was to create awareness and people all over the country are talking about the pros and cons of allowing their children to indulge in such celebrations," Muthalik said.