KASARGOD (KERALA): Kasargod, located in the northern fringe of Kerala adjoining Karnataka, is allegedly being Talibanised with Muslim girls not allowed to speak to Hindu boys in colleges or on the streets. Normal intermingling of boys and girls, if the latter are Muslims, are not allowed here. Moral police would be stalking unsuspecting girls on the streets asking the name of the boy or man accompanying every Muslim girl.
There are several instances of Hindu boys either beaten up or abducted for talking to Muslim girls. A DYFI (Democratic Youth Federation of India) activist was abducted recently from a festival venue and beaten up severely. The Muslim girl belonging to a CPI(M) family was warned against working for the DYFI. In another instance, a student of the LBS Engineering College was abducted and beaten up when he accompanied a Muslim girl, his classmate, to the railway station. Moral police, mostly youngsters, would be taking the rounds in motorbikes to detect the unsuspecting pairs. They would be everywhere—at theatres, parks, bus-stands, railway stations, hospitals, and with their prying eyes. The IUML-led Muslim Students Federation is not allowing Muslim girls to join the CPI(M)-led Students Federation of India.
The incident also triggered counter-reactions. In some cases Muslim boys taking to Hindu girls were severely beaten up. Now moral police are watching girls on either side of the religious divide to administer a stern warning against the erring girls on either side. A Hindu girl had invited her Muslim friends to her birthday party, but the Muslim boys who attended the party were stabbed outside the house.
The moral police also travel in the passenger trains to Mangalore everyday where large number of students from Kasargod shuttle daily to the Karnataka city to attend colleges. There were several instances when clashes took place on running trains.
In the backdrop of the moral policing in Kasargod, Kanhangad, a nearby town, sprang a surprise on the occasion of the Milad-e-Shareef when youths marched on the streets wearing the uniform of the Indian Army. If the earlier incidents were of moral policing, the march in army uniform was an attempt on ‘moral militarisation’, alleged the BJP.
Director General of Police Jacob Punnose promptly ordered a probe into the incident. The intelligence wing also took the issue seriously and reported to their higher-ups. But the IUML and the unified jamaat committee tendered an apology for the march taken out in army uniform.
According to them, the youths were unaware of the rules that taking out a march by civilian population in army uniform was against the spirit of the Indian Army Act. The police conducted a raid of the houses of some of the participants and seized some uniforms. But the police said that the youths had not used the army insignia and registered a case for only making an unlawful assembly on the occasion of the Miladi-e-Shareef. The BJP alleges that the police are not taking any action against extremist elements under pressure from the IUML, a constituent of the ruling UDF. The party is organising a resistance movement in Kasargod on February 17 against what they call the Talibanisation of Kasargod.