A couple of friends from a nearby Udupi college thought that going to the beach on a warm day would be the best thing to do. Clearly, they were mistaken for after frolicking on the Kapu Beach, they were dragged to the police station.
From when did going to the beach become a crime? It is isn't. What went against these youngsters was their religion. The three boys were Muslims and the two girls, Hindu.
Suspecting Love Jihad, three boys, who had reportedly gone on a picnic along with the girls, were waylaid and nearly dragged to the police station at Koteshwar near Kundapur in Udupi district on Wednesday by Hindu Jagaran Vedike activists.
Now Hindu Jagaran Vedike does not need any introduction. The right-activist outfit has had enough skirmishes with the law and the public. They are specifically against anything that is an affront to Indian culture and westernisation of the youth.
Residents who saw the bunch of friends playing on the beach allegedly informed the Hindu Jagaran Vedike members. However, before the Vedike members arrived, the youth had left the beach. The Vedike members waylaid their vehicle, forced them to stop in the middle of the traffic and dragged them outside, questioning why they were together. Despite them explaining that they had the permission from their parents, the activists dragged them to Koteshwar police station.
The police reportedly let the gang go as they realised that it was a case of moral policing. But this did not go down well with the activists, who took strong objection to the police's act. They even had a heated argument with the police asking them why they left the gang. Irked at the police, the activists have called for a protest against the police in Kundapur on September 14.
It may be recalled here that there have been several cases of 'Love Jihad' - where non-Muslim girls allegedly lured into marriage and then converted to Islam - in Udupi. The number of missing Hindu girls for alleged Love Jihad is alarming in the coastal district of Karnataka. Since 2011 the coastal district has been suffering clashes in the name of such rumours.
Religion-based moral policing is kind of the Hindu Jagran Vedike's specialty. In 2015 February a group of youngsters in their final year clicked a picture. The picture was of a boy lying across the lap of five girls in his class. The picture found its way to social media and then one of the boys in the picture Mohammed Riyaz was picked up by a group of men, horribly beaten and then warned never to talk to Hindu girls.