Bengaluru: Karnataka’s latest instance of religious bigotry found itself derailed by a group of women who fended off right-wing vigilantes questioning their Christmas celebrations.
In an incident from Tumakuru Tuesday, three days after Christmas, a group of men barged into a house of a family from the Other Backward Class (OBC) community.
They questioned why the family was celebrating Christmas and why the women were not wearing sindoor or vermillion as Hindu women do.
“Why are you celebrating Christmas?” one of the men asked, as seen in a video that has been shared widely, and demanded why some members of the family had “converted to Christianity”.
The women, however, stood up to the bullying, saying who they pray to is their prerogative and refuted the charges of conversion.
“Who are you to question us? I can remove the mangalsutra (a necklace worn by married Hindu women) and keep it aside,” one of the women said, asking the men to “get out”.
The intense argument went on for a while and was finally defused after the police were called. No formal complaint was filed.
According to a police officer, some members of the family have been celebrating Christmas for many years.
Karnataka has seen an increasing number of such incidents of religious intolerance, with right-wing groups facing scant action for vigilante attacks.
The groups have found favour in sections of Karnataka’s BJP government which recently pushed through a law to target religious conversions, shrugging off criticism by rights groups and the opposition.