Seers call on CM Bommai seeking law against ‘forcible conversions’
Chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday was seen sharing space with controversial rightwing leader Pramod Muthalik of the Sri Rama Sene in his official residence here.
Muthalik was part of a delegation of Hindu seers who met Bommai and submitted a memorandum to bring in a legislation banning forcible conversions at the earliest.
“Today (Friday) at chief minister’s official residence, over 50 Hindu seers, Sri Rama Sene, Hindu Janajagruthi Samithi members and others requested him to bring in a legislation to ban (religious) conversion,” the Hindu Janagagruthi Samithi said in a statement.
The state government has already proposed to bring in a law to ban forcible conversions after the BJP’s Goolihatti Shekar made a passionate speech in the monsoon session of the state legislature held in September.
Muthalik had made national headlines when his extreme rightwing organisation Sri Rama Sene had assaulted women in a pub in Mangaluru, about 350 km from Bengaluru, in 2009.
Muthalik has since tried to stay in the headlines as his organisation has tried to protest against Valentine’s Day and other occasions in the garb of “protecting culture” and “resisting westernisation”.
Sri Ram Sene was founded in the late 1960s by Kalki Maharaj, the right hand man of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray, and a former member of the Bajrang Dal and Vishva Hindu Parishad. Muthalik held the top post in the organization and shot to infamy in the 2009 Mangaluru pub attacks.
On January 24, 2009, a group of 40 activists of the Sene barged into a pub called “Amnesia — The Lounge” and trashed a group of young women and men, claiming the women were violating traditional Indian values. Two of the women were hospitalised.
He has also tried to secure a BJP ticket to contest the assembly polls in Karnataka.
In October, the rightwing leader said he was mobilising support to “reclaim” Gadag’s Jumma Masjid.
“For 72 years we had to fight for Rama Mandir. After 72 years of struggle, we were able to complete our resolve to demolish it and construct a grand temple. In the same way in Gadag, I challenge that the place known as Jamma Masjid is actually Venkateswara Temple,” Muthalik said, HT reported on October 19.