On July 27, when the Bharatiya Janata Party Karnataka president and MP Nalini Kumar Kateel, state minister Sunil Kumar Karkala and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat arrived in Dakshina Kannada district after the murder of a party youth leader, Praveen Nettaru, their cars were surrounded by angry Hindutva mobs.
Shouting slogans criticising the BJP, the mob sought to topple Kateel’s car. Kateel is the MP from the Dakshina Kannada constituency.
In a strange irony, the Sangh parivar leaders suddenly seemed to need security from angry members of various saffron organisations in the region. The BJP-controlled state police had to resort to lathi charge to disperse the crowd.
The anger did not come out of nowhere. On the face of it, the mob was angry about why Hindutva activists are not safe in the region despite having governments in both the state and the Centre that they consider their own.
However, Nettaru’s murder and the subsequent unrest among the Hindutva cadre in coastal Karnataka are symptomatic of deeper caste tensions within the precariously stitched Hindutva alliance in the region.
Nettaru, who was hacked to death last week while he was closing his poultry shop in the evening, belonged to the Billava caste – a numerically dominant, but economically and socially marginalised,…