Amidst the election heat, posters debarring the Congress have been put up by residents in Kanyana village of Coastal Karnataka. Locals claim that the reason behind the campaign is the Congress’ Hindu backstabbing
Kanyana village is located about 30 Km from Bantwal, the Taluk Headquarters. A quaint village until a few years ago, has now become a hot bed of Jihadi activities with tacit support of the state’s ruling party. The very foundation of the village was shaken by a case of Love Jihad which was also a rude wake-up call for the Hindus of the village. The Kanyana village which had given all the 20 seats in its Panchayat to the Congress, seems to have turned against the same party now. The reason is the latest campaign by the villagers against the anti-Hindu policies and agenda of the Congress.
The Hindu residents of the village had supported the Congress during the last Panchayat polls. But today most Hindu homes have put up a plaque or printout outside their houses with the text “Congressis are not allowed in this home”. The text which further reads, “This is a Hindu house. Congressis who supported the conversion of Ganyashree through deception are not allowed in this house. We have daughters in our house too” is now seen outside more than 200 houses in the village.
What Triggered the Campaign?
The indignation of the villagers towards the Congress seems to have begun more than a year ago with a case of ‘Love Jihad’ when a Hindu girl had eloped with a Muslim man. The marriage of Ganyashree (21), a college student and daughter of Shridhar Shetty, resident of Pilinguli in Kanyana village had been decided to take place on 9th November, 2016. As the date for marriage was made known, the girl absconded but surfaced many days later at a house in Nayimarmoola in Vidyanagar police station’s limits of Kasargod in Kerala. She was found living with Sameer (27), a resident of Sriramkallu in Kanyana.The police apprehended both, investigated the matter and released the man with a warning and taking a written undertaking from him. As the girl refused to accompany her parents, she was then lodged at ‘Mana Parivartana’ Kendra, a counselling centre in Mangaluru. The girl had stated that she go with the Muslim man.
In the meanwhile, Samir had approached the court demanding the custody of the girl. Upon entreaties of her mother, the girl informed the court that she would go back to her parents’ home. However, they both established contact after a few days and the girl eloped with the same boy again and married him. The entire cost of the legal battle from the girl’s parents side was borne by the activists of Hindu organisations. Hindu activists in the village say that when the girl was housed at the ‘Mana Parivartana’ Kendra, it was the Congress workers who helped the Muslim man to locate the girl and also to file a case in court for her custody.
With the court battle turning out to be futile after the Muslim man lured the girl again, the villagers are angry with the Congress for having helped the man with the legal battle and also in establishing their contact again. This seething anger coupled with other issues facing the Hindus has resulted in this open campaign against the Congress.
“The border between Kerala and Karnataka is very close to us. We know for sure that drugs are supplied to youth and even High school students here with the support of Congress leaders here. We Hindus have to fight such anti-Hindu elements. Sangh and its Parivar organisations have not instigated us to put up the posters as alleged. It is the common people of the village who have put up the posters on their own to express their sorrow and anger over the recent developments”, said Chandrahasa of Kanyana Village.
Rajesh Naik Ulipady, a progressive farmer and BJP’s candidate from Bantwal Assembly constituency talked to Organiser on the episode and said that this was a natural response of the people of the village with no involvement of any other political party. He rejected the Congress’ allegation that the BJP was involved in instigating the villagers. When asked what triggered the campaign he says, “Hindus of the village had realised that Congress had helped in the elopement and conversion of Ganyashree. Along with this cattle smuggling has reached enormous proportions in the district and the Kanyana village too has been a victim of the menace. The pent up anger and frustration over Congress’ support to people who indulge in such activities resulted in this campaign”.
Will the Congress stay quiet?
Mahender, a villager who is part of the campaign says that the local police have visited several houses and are forcing the people to remove the plaques. When told that it is their democratic right to put up any desired post in front of their houses, the police are threatening them with false cases of ‘disturbing communal harmony’ on them. He informed us that the police are performing the ‘Spot Mahajar’ of many houses which have put up the anti-Congress posters.
Rajesh Naik says that this was expected. “The Congress will not work directly as elections are due. Hence they are forcing the local police to act against the Householders who have put up the plaques. Constables are sent to such homes to force them to remove the boards. We have complained against this act to the Election Commission. It is anyone’s fundamental right to decide who will enter their homes and who will not. Police cannot decide that”, he says.
“It is we who decide as to who will enter our houses and who will not. We oppose the anti-Hindu policies of the Congress which supports Love Jihad here. Hence we have started this poster campaign of our own will” Naveen Kotian, Kanyana
Another villager who wished not to be named says, “Muslims and Congress functionaries have occupied all seats in the local School Development Councils. Meat is being put into tiffin boxes of Hindu kids and the SDC does nothing about it. Such is the torment Hindus are facing here today”, he rues.
Isn”t the Congress bothered about the issues the Hindus are facing in the constituency? Rajesh Naik says that the Congress is not really concerned about issues faced by Hindus as their votes are splintered on party and caste lines. With about 76000 votes, the Muslims form a major chunk of the Congress’ vote base which sees them through in each election. “This time the Hindus seem to have woken up and have taken the issues faced by them seriously as witnessed in this campaign”, he says. Ramanath Rai has won from Bantwal Constituency 6 out of the 7 times he has contested. With the Hindus coming together for a cause, it needs to be seen if the results would be different this time.
“We have to fight such anti-Hindu elements. It is the common people of the village who have put up the posters on their own to express their sorrow and anger over the recent developments”
— Chandrahasa, Resident of Kanyana Village