V-Day: Muthalik threatens to marry off dating couples
Sri Rama Sene founder Pramod Muthalik said that his activists would hold protests at hotels, hostels and colleges where Valentine's Day celebrations are held.
"Those found dating, expressing their love, cosying up to each other would be married off," Muthalik, who has been released on bail in the Mangalore pub attack case, said.
He said at a meeting of the Sene held on Wednesday it was decided to request the Karnataka Government to ban Valentine's day celebrations in the state. A memorandum to this effect would be submitted to the Governor Rameshwar Thakur, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and Home minister V S Acharya, he said.
The outfit has formed ‘five teams’ which would roam around with a hidden camera on Feb 14. A priest would accompany the team which will have a turmeric stub and 'mangalsutra'. Muthalik, who came to limelight after the January 24 attack by Sene members on boys and girls in the pub, even claimed that the marriages will be ‘registered’.
Hitting back at Union Minister Renuka Choudhary, who had demanded stern action against the outfit, he asked why the Minister had not voiced her opinion ‘when they were cases of rape and crime against women in metros’.
Asserting that the outfit's drive was not politically motivated, Muthalik said, "as a citizen of the country, it is my democratic duty to put an end to anything that is obscene."
While issuing the threat to marry off couples who dated in public, he insisted that while holding protests, Sene activists 'would not take the law into their hands'.
Muthalik claimed his activists had been working for the last 10 years and had ‘succeeded in putting an end to the Valentine's day celebrations in five districts of Karnataka’.
The Sene chief said he faced 53 cases and appeared in 41. To a scribe's retort that if the couple were minors an act of marriage would be unlawful, he said that in such cases the couple would be counselled and the police informed about their activities.
Srirama Sene leaders warned parents who did not want their wards to be married off to ensure that their children do not step out on February 14.
Reacting to Union Minister of State for Women and Child Development Renuka Choudhary's comments that he would not understand love since he was a celibate, Muthalik said, ‘being a brahmachari does not mean I do not understand love’ and said ‘it was not right for a woman who was a national leader to remark like this’.
Muthalik claimed that he had ‘defended women in distress whenever situations arose, unlike Choudhary’.
On reports that the pub attack involved extortion, he challenged those making the allegations to provide proof.
"None of my workers have resorted to extortion", he said.
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