On Sunday, Gandhi Jayanthi, a rally of over 10,000 people carrying swords and saffron flags and shawls and chanting slogans against Muslims marched through Udupi city in Karnataka under the banner of a Hindu militant group, Hindu Jagarana Vedika.
“We will build a Hindu Rashtra,” slogans were raised during the rally.
Karnataka Minister for Kannada and Culture Sunil Kumar, Udupi MLA Raghupathi Bhat, and former Congress leader Pramod Madhwaraj, who recently joined the BJP participated in the rally, according to The News Minute. Other MLAs Lalaji R. Mendon and B.M. Sukumara Shetty also joined the rally, according to The Hindu.
“There should be a weapon in every Hindu household. In the next Ayudha pooja, Hindus should not worship cycles, mixers or grinders, but they should worship weapons. Let us cultivate the mindset to use those weapons. This is the aim of the Hindu Jagarana Vedike,” the news portal quoted Shrikant Shetty Karkala, a Udupi-based television reporter as telling to the Hindu crowd.
“The saffron turbans from Durga Daud are now being seen in colleges. It is because of Durga Daud that society is changing and is becoming aware. If there is another dispute, it won’t just be saffron turbans; there could also be a thousand swords,” Shetty said while claiming that the Hindu Jagarana Vedike was instrumental in instigating Hindu boys to face off against their Muslim classmates who were protesting against hijab ban.
The rally started from the Mahishamardini temple in Kadiyali and ended at the venue of the program outside the Udupi Krishna temple.
Bhopal BJP MP and terror case accused Pragya Singh Thakur, who was announced as the chief guest of the program did not make it to the program citing illness.
The Hindutva march was organized hours later a rally by an interfaith group Sahabalve in which 200 people walked for interfaith harmony. The interfaith rally started at a temple and stopped at a mosque and a church. It ended with speeches on interfaith dialogue, according to TNM.
Regarding the Hindutva rally, Udupi Police said that no complaint has been received by them in the matter so far. Inquiry can be launched if a complaint is received, the police said.