Dhanyashree, a 20-year-old B.Com student, living in Chikmagalur (Karnataka), had a ‘Muslim’ friend with whom she used to chat regularly on Facebook. This invited the ire of her another friend named Santhosh, who asked the girl not to befriend a ‘Muslim’ guy. To this advise (cum threat), Dhanyashree replied saying, “I love Muslims”. Infuriated by her message, Santhosh warned her against having any kind of relationship with Muslims and shared the screenshot of their conversation with local Bajrang Dal and VHP members. The screenshot of the message went viral, causing mental agony to Dhanyashree and her mother. The right-wing groups started to warn her on Facebook. However, the inflection point for Dhanyashree was when some youths, including the BJP youth wing leader Anilraj, visited her house, on Friday, evening and threatened her and her mother against being friendly with Muslims. Reportedly, the perpetrators told her parents that their daughter’s friendship with the Muslim man was a case of “love jihad”, a term used by right-wing groups accusing Muslim men of drawing Hindu women into relationships and converting them. They also hurled insults at the girl.
Dhanyashree committed suicide the next day. A note found near her body said the incident had ruined her personal life and education. Police arrested Anilraj, who is BJP Yuva Morcha’s Mudigere town president and launched a massive manhunt for the main accused Santhosh and three others. The police also recovered the girl’s phone and discovered that picture, where the girl was seen with the boy from another community, that was circulated widely, mostly by the pro-Hindu activists, through social media platforms. “Five people had gone to her house. We have taken this incident seriously. All of them will be punished. Please don’t call it moral policing. Call it moral goondagiri,” the SP said while briefing reporters. He added that action will be taken against others who shared the screenshot of the WhatsApp message.
Three days after the suicide of a 20-year-old girl for sending a WhatsApp message that said “I love Muslims” and the arrest of a local BJP youth wing leader, the Bajrang Dal has issued a stern warning to all Hindu girls against being friendly with boys from other religions. In a WhatsApp message, Bajrang Dal, Mudigere unit, has warned that whoever roams around with non-Hindu boys will be made to pay a heavy price as it is the duty of Bajrang Dal to save Hinduism.
Notably, assembly polls in Karnataka will be held later this year.