On October 9, two bike-borne men stopped a car in which a Muslim couple was travelling with two Hindu women in Moodabidri of Dakshina Kannada district. The men questioned the women why they were travelling with a couple of different faiths. After the incident, the Moodabidri police arrested the two men who were members of a right-wing group. It was learnt that two women had asked for a lift from the couple as they were travelling to the same destination.
Pictures of the local BJP MLA Umanath Kotian walking out of the police station with the two accused after they got interim bail have gone viral. Congress has alleged that BJP leaders in the state have been backing moral policing and this incident seems to support this assumption.
These are not isolated incidents, in fact, there has been a sudden increase in such cases in the state. According to an activist tracking such incidents, at least 25 cases of moral policing were registered in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi alone this year till October 8, 2021.
In a majority of these cases, friends from different faiths travelling or hanging out together were harassed or attacked by right-wing groups in the name of ‘love jihad’.
Moral policing incidents have also been reported in Shivamogga and Belagavi over the past one week.
Activists tracking such cases said these are only the cases that were registered with the police and many such cases go unreported.