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'Sri Ram Sene men to target Valentine's Day'

Ram sene activists, who recently assaulted women at a Mangalore pub as part of a morality campaign, have now vowed to assault couples marking Valentine's Day.

india Updated: Feb 03, 2009 13:49 IST

Ram sene activists who recently dragged young women out of a fashionable bar as part of a morality campaign have vowed to assault couples marking Valentine's Day, according to reports on Tuesday.

Sri Ram Sene activists stormed the "Amnesia" bar in the southern city of Mangalore late last month and assaulted female customers whom they accused of behaving obscenely.

Now the group has turned its wrath on romantics who plan to celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14, saying the occasion encourages anti-Indian behaviour and sexual misdemeanours.

"If people celebrate the day despite our warning, then we will definitely attack them," a senior Sri Ram Sene activist, Gangadhar Kulkarni, told a leading English daily.

The group's founder, Pramod Muthalik, describes his members as "the custodians of Indian culture" and says the women in the bar needed to be stopped from "going astray."

The assault reignited a debate over what is culturally acceptable in modern India, a traditionally conservative society where women face pressure to remain "modest" at all times.

"Valentine's Day is definitely not Indian culture. We will not allow celebration of that day in any form," Muthalik told the Times.

Sri Rama Sene is one of several Hindu radical groups who target female conduct, inter-faith relationships, religious conversions and perceived "Western" deviations from Indian culture.

First Published: Feb 03, 2009 11:42 IST