28 February 2009
Bangalore: Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani Saturday blasted the rightwing Hindu group Sri Rama Sene for its attack on women in a Mangalore pub last month, saying such "barbaric attacks are condemnable".
Advani was referring to the Jan 24 attack on young women by around 40 Rama Sene men. The Sene members had accused the women who go to pubs of violating Indian traditions.
He was addressing a well attended rally of students and youth in Karnataka to mark the conclusion of a state-wide anti-terror campaign by the ruling BJP.
Speaking to reporters after the rally, Advani said: "I strongly condemn the attack on girls in Mangalore. There can be no compromise on this. It is wrong and against Indian culture and ethos."
The BJP's prime ministerial candidate said people could have different perspectives on whether they approved of young men and women frequenting pubs but attacking them was wrong.
"Girls and boys will have their own ways, and you may not approve, but it is wrong to attack them for it," he said.
Hundreds of male and female students attended the rally in scorching heat at the Palace Grounds, about five kilometers from the city centre, a highlight of which was an address by K. Unikrishnan, father of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, a National Security Guard (NSG) commando who was killed in a gun battle with terrorists during the Nov 26-29 Mumbai carnage last year.
After being garlanded and presented with a shawl by Advani, Unnikrishnan and his wife Dhanalakshmi sought the BJP leader's blessings by touching his feet.
In his brief address in Kannada, Unnikrishnan said his son was not killed but sought death fighting the terrorists.
"Have such fire in you and no terrorist can kill you," he exhorted the cheering young audience.