Leaders behind bars, Sene men count pink ‘gifts’

February 14th, 2009 - 4:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Feb 14 (IANS) With Sri Ram Sene leaders in jail and thousands of police personnel on the streets to thwart disruption of Valentine’s Day celebrations in Karnataka, activists of the rightwing Hindu group were Saturday left rummaging through cartons of pink underwear that they were sent by a women’s group.

“Four or five parcels have already arrived with around 500 underpants,” a Sene activist said, holding up one of the cheeky ‘gifts’ sent to their leader Pramod Muthalik from “pub loving, loose, forward women” - a group formed on a social networking site.

The cartons of pink underwear began arriving Friday at the Sri Rama Sene office in the town of Hubli in response to the Hindu group’s threat to disrupt Valentine’s Day celebrations in the state.

The messages on the underpants varied - from the simple “Be my Valentine” to “Wear this and rot in hell”.

With around 20,000 women and men signing up for the “Send Pink Chaddi (underwear) to Sri Rama Sene” campaign, a few thousand underpants are expected to reach the Sene headquarters.

Muthalik was Friday taken into preventive custody in Gulbarga town as he had threatened to marry off men and women publicly displaying their love on Valentine’s Day.

Though he had given up the plan, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the state did not want to take any chance and had him and other leaders, like Sene’s state vice convenor Prasad Attavar, put behind bars till Feb 16.

Attavar was detained late Friday in Mangalore town, where Sene men had bashed up young women in a pub on Jan 24. A few days later, a Kerala legislator’s daughter was abducted, allegedly by Sene men, for talking a Muslim friend and safely released after an hour.

Police have taken over 400 others, mostly in capital Bangalore, into preventive custody to ensure peace Saturday.

Nearly 18,000 police personnel, mostly in plain clothes, were out on streets of Bangalore since morning, keeping an eye on popular youth hangouts like pubs, malls, shopping complexes and hotels.

All these places have also stepped up vigil, deploying additional security men to ward off trouble.

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