For the past six months, the number of harassment and violent attacks against groups traveling with non-Hindus has increased significantly in the Karnataka State in Southwest India. The perpetrators, all males, strongly subscribe to the Hindutva ideology, a Hindu nationalism ideology that seeks to create a Hindu India.
Since January 2021, police offices in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada have reported 51 public incidents of harassment, with some ending with violence. Another 14 cases of "moral policing" by Hindu vigilante "activists." The reports also included 13 documented hate-speech-related incidents.
In February, seven college students from a private school in Mangaluru were harassed and attacked by five men. The student group consisted of six Hindus, three men and three women, with the seventh Muslim male was visiting a local tourist spot in Dakshina Kannada, Ermayi Falls. The apprehending group hit the Muslim man in the head after they identified him.
The group responsible for the attack consisted of a Bharatiya Janata Party member, a national right-wing political party with a strong Hindu nationalism ideology. It's also the party of India's current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The rest of the group consisted of members of Bajrang Dal, the youth group of Vishva Hindu Parishad, a right-wing Hindu group with a strong Hindutva ideology.
Four more similar incidents have happened in Karnataka since the attack in February 2021.
On March 17, a group of three men, two Hindus, and a Muslim was harassed by Bajrang Dal members. A few days after, on March 29, police stopped a possible violent attack against a man and a woman, who was alleged to be "from a different religion." On March 30, a Hindu woman was seen "resting her head on his shoulder" and was harassed by unidentified assailants.
The worst-case in this series of attacks happened two days after. On April 1, 2021, a Hindu woman traveled with Aswad Anwar Mohammed, a 23-year old Muslim man. He was stopped and stabbed by Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad members, another Hindu right-wing organization that subscribes to Hindutva ideologies.
According to the police, these attacks were coordinated, with members of the right-wing groups corresponding with each other across different cities in Karnataka State.