Bantwal: The undivided Dakshina Kannada district, a mosaic of different faiths, languages and cultures, was known as a garden of a variety of colourful flowers some decades ago. It is a sad spectacle that it has slowly turned into a cauldron of communal conflict.
Those were the days when people of different faiths visited each other during festivals like Deepavali, Bakrid and Christmas and partake of each other’s food in the spirit of true brotherhood. It was a great scenario with people professing different religions being conversant in all other languages of each other like Konkani of different shades, Havyaka Kannada, Shivalli Tulu, Beary, Malayalam, Marathi Konkani, Kundapra Kannada and the like.
That appears to have gone into the pages of history. Vigilantism keeps rearing its ugly head every now and then, as jobless youth are being remote-controlled by political players from behind the scenes to create trouble. Men and women from different creeds are not allowed to communicate with each other. A friendly chat between good neighbours is responded with physical violence.
An incident that took place at Kalladka on Sunday, Feb 1 is a stock example which should to make people think in terms of what our society had turned into. Shyamala (name changed), now residing in Kundapur, and Sameera (name changed) from Kalladka, although belonging to different religions, have been very close friends. They had studied together in a college in Mangaluru.
On Sunday, Shyamala, had arrived alone to visit Sameera and see her child. It was a new place for her and she had to be escorted by someone to Sameera’s house. Sameera asked her husband to collect her from the main road and drop her at home. This took about two hours’ time, said eyewitnesses.
As Sameera’s husband arrived and took Shyamala in his car, there were some jobless youth ever ready to create trouble. Messages and calls went around and a group followed the car just because a woman from one faith went with a man from another.
The group is said to have trespassed into the house of Sameera and tried to assault the inmates. The police were informed and they took Shyamala to the police station. After confirming the facts, she was sent back to Kundapur.
After gathering the opinion of the citizens, some interesting questions cropped up. In the first place, it was a social visit of a friend to a former classmate. The police, instead of questioning the woman, should have taken the jobless goondas to task as to what business they had to poke their nose into others’ private matters. No one from the trouble-makers’ group was booked.
Further, if at all they were representing their religion, the police did not want to know which leader of their religion gave them authority to take such steps or they had any authorization from the police or any magistrate.
At the bottom of it all, it is sad to see that unemployed youth are being used as foot-soldiers to create social disharmony and face cases and imprisonment while the puppet-players remain safe in their airconditioned homes.