Incident free Valentine’s Day in Bangalore

February 14th, 2009 - 7:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Feb 14 (IANS) Weekend crowds thronged the popular multiplexes, malls, shopping complexes and theatres in India’s tech hub Saturday but there was hardly any public display of love by the youth to mark Valentine’s Day, held in the shadow of attacks by fringe Hindu groups in other parts of the state.

A rightwing Hindu group, Sri Ram Sene, had threatened to stop lovers from celebrating the day. The group had gained notoriety by attacking women in a Mangalore pub a few weeks ago. That was followed by another incident in the state in which a 15-year-old girl committed suicide after being humiliated by suspected members of another Hindu group, the Bajrang Dal.

“It is the usual weekend crowd. Nothing unusual or extra activity is noticed to show it is Valentine’s Day,” said a spokesperson of a popular mall in the city.

Additional security was put in place as a precaution and more police personnel were also visible around the multiplexes and other crowded areas.

“No incident, fortunately. The weekend crowd of all ages is present,” Mohammed Ali, manager of The Forum, a popular mall with multiplexes and food court in upscale Koramangala in central business district (CBD), told IANS.

Spokespersons of Bangalore Central and Garuda Mall, which are less than 500 metres away from each other and also in the CBD, said everything was fine. The crowd this weekend appeared to be slightly larger, they said.

“We have more security for this weekend in view of the (Sri Rama Sene) threat. We see more policemen also around our complex,” a Bangalore Central spokeswoman said.

“Pretty fine weekend,” said the Garuda Mall spokesperson.

“It is a mixed crowd. Can’t say the young are more this weekend,” he said.

Police said there was no incident anywhere in the state.

“Everything is normal,” said A.R. Infant, additional director general of police in charge of law and order.

“Over 500 people have been taken into preventive custody across the state,” he said.

M.R. Pujar, additional commissioner of police (law and order, Bangalore city) said, “It is an incident free day. We have detained around 400 (of the 500 across the state) in Bangalore,” he said.

Among those arrested are Sri Rama Sene founder Pramod Muthalik, who was detained Friday in Gulbarga, over 600 km from here, and the outfit’s state vice-convenor Prasad Attavar, in Mangalore, 350 km from Bangalore.

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