Indian Hindu extremists who recently dragged young women out of a fashionable bar as part of a morality campaign have vowed to assault couples marking Valentine's Day, according to reports Tuesday.
Sri Ram Sena (Lord Ram's Army) activists stormed the "Amnesia" bar in the southern city of Mangalore late last month and assaulted female customers whom they accused of behaving obscenely.
AdvertisementNow the group has turned its wrath on romantics who plan to celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14, saying the occasion encourages anti-Indian behaviour and sexual misdemeanours.
"If people celebrate the day despite our warning, then we will definitely attack them," a senior Sri Ram Sena activist, Gangadhar Kulkarni, told the Times of India.
The group's founder, Pramod Mutalik, describes his members as "the custodians of Indian culture" and says the women in the bar needed to be stopped from "going astray."
The assault reignited a debate over what is culturally acceptable in modern India, a traditionally conservative society where women face pressure to remain "modest" at all times.
"Valentine's Day is definitely not Indian culture. We will not allow celebration of that day in any form," Mutalik told the Times.
Sri Rama Sena is one of several Hindu radical groups who target female conduct, inter-faith relationships, religious conversions and perceived "Western" deviations from Indian culture.