May 15, 2010


National Secretary, Communist Party of India (CPI)

It’s a great exposé and there is enough evidence now to proceed against Pramod Muthalik and the Sene. But, since the BJP heads the Karnataka government, it is doubtful if they will take action. If the state government does not do any thing after this exposé, the union home ministry should step in and advise the state government to act. The real face of the so-called representatives of Hindu culture is out. Who has given these people the authority to decide on what is culture? Are they the sole representatives of Indian culture, or even Hindu culture? Who are they? Who has given them this authority? They cannot appropriate the law. This kind of religious fundamentalism should be dealt with very firmly.

Senior Advocate, Supreme Court

Merely planning to vandalise is not enough evidence. It should be followed by an overt act of vandalism. Nevertheless, it will be an important input in the investigation of past riots. If this modus operandi was adopted in the past, involvement can be established by this exposé. Statements caught on camera about past deeds would be admissible as extra-judicial confession. Action can be taken against them and they can be made an accused in those cases. Whoever is investigating the cases against Muthalik and his gang should take cognisance of the statement made by these persons in your exposé, and should use the statements against them.


Muthalik and his cronies should be jailed. They should get 50 lashes each from the elastic of the pink chaddis! On a serious note, they deserve the most severe punishment possible for the crimes they have committed.

Congress MP

I would like to congratulate Tehelka for a brilliant exposé on the ugly face of fundamentalism in India. People like Pramod Muthalik and organisations like the Sri Ram Sene are a threat to India and strict legal action should be taken against them based on what they have said in the tapes. Everyone has a right to follow one's religion, but no one has the right to instigate the public and create communal tension in the name of religion. This is precisely what the Sene and the other parties like the RSS are doing. Also, the onus should not be on the Sri Ram Sene as much as it should be on the BJP and the VHP. Muthalik is just an off-shoot of the fundamentalist agenda of the VHP and the RSS, which receive patronage from the BJP. The exposé has brought into public conscience what these parties can do to spread communal tension in the country.

CPI(M) Central Committee Member

This exposé has vindicated the stand of the CPI(M), which has been for the longest time waging a war on fundamentalism in India. My congratulations to Tehelka on the exposé. These people are a blot on civil society and the BJP which is in power in Karnataka, need not look for more evidence. The evidence that Tehelka has provided is enough to indict organisations like the Sri Ram Sene and their leaders, which are the core of fascism. The BJP cannot dissociate itself from the Sene as it was because of the free hand given by the BJP to the Sene, even after the Mangalore pub attack, that the Sene continued to grow. I think it is high time that cognisance is taken.

Tehelka's extraordinary exposé of the Sri Ram Sene demonstrates how 'popular and religious sentiment' is cynically manufactured -- for a price. It should lead to serious introspection among all our political parties, who -- as the cases of Salman Rushdie, MF Husain, Taslima Nasreen and James Laine all show -- have so often stifled or suppressed artistic freedom in the name of protecting this alleged sentiment. The Tehelka exposé should provoke not self-satisfaction but shame, for there are Sri Ram Sene-like elements within the Congress, the CPM, and the BJP as well.

BJP Spokesperson and MP

The Sri Ram Sene is an anti-BJP party. It has contested against the BJP at 80 places. So, we are not related to them in any which way. Our government has already taken them to court and the process of law is on. They have been jailed and there are more than 30 cases registered against them. We have taken effective action against the Sene. We have already jailed them on that count. The impression that they are with BJP is completely wrong. They are an anti-BJP force.


There were 41 cases against Omkara because of the language used in the film, so I know how this moral policing works. I think the public and the media should be aware and be smart, and know that giving these people undue importance is wrong. They only want to be relevant in politics and these are the only ways they know how to get ahead. They should be ignored, and if they go overboard, then we the public should rally around and make sure we get justice.

Former CBI Director

Tehelka has kept its reputation . I think a case can be registered against the Sri Ram Sene for plotting to incite a communal riot under the IPC. It’s a pretty serious offence. Somebody should file a complaint against the Sene with the police and if the police don’t take action, then they can approach the High Court. I am sure the government has no option but to book him.


What has come out is quite shameful and shocking about the people who have been creating so much ruckus over the last few years -- slapping women, hitting people on street, and portraying themselves as a moral brigade and protectors of culture. They should be given severe punishment. Whatever Muthalik says to defend himself, it has clearly been proved that these people are after money. The law should definitely take its own course and severe punishment must be handed over to them.

Delhi University

A sting may not be enough to convict, but is evidence for a trial. It can't amount to instigation — you couldn't entrap me for renting riots! You get trapped because you are guilty. Moral policing is hypocritical. I hope those who supported Muthalik and his cronies, realise this. They should be tried in public and their entire radioactive rhetoric of Hinduism should be openly examined.

Gul Panag

I commend Tehelka for not being financially motivated. Paying mobs for rioting has been employed by many people. Even the 1984 riots were paid for. But I don't think much can be done against the Sene. Karnataka has a right-wing party in power. These outfits are supported by Hindutva parties, and that's their strength. As a nation we must never subscribe to, or believe in, these moral police outfits.

BJP Spokesperson

The BJP unequivocally condemns the action of the Sri Ram Sene and believes that strict action should be taken against those who were involved. Taking money for conducting riots is shameful and dangerous, it should be stopped at all costs. If there is enough evidence, we urge the state to take action against the accused. The BJP has never had anything to do with such organisations and doesn't support them.

AICC spokesperson

The Karnataka government as well as other states where the Sene has units must ban the outfit. Action should be taken against those who spread hatred in the name of religion. Those who offered the Sene moral support, are trying to distance themselves. But the country knows who they are.

Anthropologist and human rights activist

The sting is not about Muthalik, it’s about hundreds of people who build themselves on an ecology of idiotic scandals. They create a minor scandal with major violence that limit people’s freedoms. This is a sting for freedom. Lots of politics is built on the agony of false complaints. By publicising this, we understand the nature of politics. There should be litigation against these devious groups — not just income tax scrutiny. Outfits like the Sene should be investigated to know what’s going on with them. There should be a RTI, not a sting, to know about them.

Human Rights Activist

Moral policing is an act of sheer criminality. The fact that our judiciary lets these people get away time and again, inspite of the fact that they spew venom and initiate violence on innocent people, is a blight on democracy.


I think Tehelka has been extremely courageous in stripping away from Pramod Muthalik and his Sri Ram Sene, any fig leaf of legitimate moral outrage. It's clear from this investigation that Muthalik and gang are 'event-organisers', and what they organise is public murder and grievous bodily harm, for money and political gain. What is also quite startling is that none of these goondas smell a rat when an ‘artist’ asks them to organise a rather violent ‘PR’ event — as if artists, like politicians and businessmen, were completely at ease with bloodshed and destruction. I wonder what this tells us about how art and artists are seen in many parts of our country.


"Depending on how important he is to the plans of mice and men, Mr. Muthalik will probably buy his way out of deeper trouble. But it is heartening to see such public enemies feel the heat at last. Bravo again Tehelka."

General Secretary, Samajwadi Party

The Tehelka exposé has brought out the real face of organisations like the Sri Ram Sene and Pramod Muthalik. They have links with the mafia and they indulge in extortion. It is extremely unfortunate that parties like the BJP provide patronage to elements like the Sri Ram Sene. All this will stop if parties maintain distance from organisations like the Ram Sene and start ostracising them. But, political patronage makes such bodies flourish. Fringe elements like the Sene have no credibility and, after your exposé, they should be tried under the law of the land.

Politburo Member, CPI(M)

Clearly, the Sri Ram Sene has added one more dimension to their criminal activity, which is that of acting like a mercenary group. Earlier, they used religion to spread communal hatred. They had also used the cloak of the so-called Indian culture to attack young women. So, clearly this is a group that is acting outside the Constitution of India. Therefore, the government must take appropriate action. And since the sting done by Tehelka shows there is prima facie evidence against them, the government has to take action under the law. I believe a campaign is needed against organisations like the RSS and the BJP, which promote a communal brand of politics and provide an enabling environment for groups such as the Ram Sene to exist. We have asked the government of India to order a probe into the activities of Hindutva groups because the recent revelation about the Ajmer mosque blast shows that it is threat to national security and national unity. The BJP government in Karnataka, if they have to retain whatever is left of their credibility, has to act against Muthalik and his organisation. There in enough prima-facie evidence in the exposé. Earlier, the BJP government had a very soft approach towards the Sene and even tried to defend them in the name of defending Indian culture. Later, under public pressure, they arrested Muthalik and put him in jail.


I have one word to describe the Tehelka exposé of the Ram Sene - excellent!

Vice-president, BJP

If the exposé is true, then fundamentalism and violence have no place in civil society. The BJP does not endorse or associate itself with such people and such action.

Vice-president, BJP

I have seen the sting on TV and it is horrific. The BJP condemns such action in the strongest possible way and I have urged the state leadership to take strong action against Pramod Muthalik. These people are terrorists and they should be dealt with in the same way as one would act against a terrorist. The BJP has nothing to do with the Sri Ram Sene and the Sene too does not have links with the BJP or the Sangh Parivar. I would like to congratulate Tehelka for their work. We always talk of banning such organisations, but banning by itself is not enough. Now is the time for action.

Former Prime Minister

The Sri Ram Sene should be banned. I would really like to appreciate Tehelka for raising this issue of national importance. I don't expect the Karnataka government to take any step. It is shameless government, which doesn't take any steps. There is a systemic collapse in the state.

Former CRPF Director-General

Tehelka has once again proved what quality journalism is all about. This is great news for all those who have been fighting against communal forces in the country. In the video, Pramod Muthalik talks of rioting and in sensitive areas. This is an offence and he can be booked under various offences pertaining to communal disharmony and rioting. It calls for the strictest possible action. Even if no action is taken against the powers that may be, for instance the Karnataka government might hesitate in taking action against Muthalik as he is their ally, the common public has now seen their true face. The common man has seen on television the acts of these people and this by itself is enough.


Why has it taken Tehelka to expose this muck? All our politicians and our entire law and order machinery should hang their heads in shame and be charged for colluding with such anti-national elements because they lack balls and are completely spineless in their political will. My heartiest congratulations to Tehelka.


The sting is fantastic. The best thing is that it's not about the Ram Sene members cavorting around with some women, but about issues that matter to common people. It gives sting operations the importance they deserve. I didn't get much flak for my movie LSD, as the people marketing it knew that it was too small a movie to garner too much money for such goons. These moral police only go where the money is. I am not surprised at this exposé, because we all knew the reality of these so-called moral police outfits, and now we have proof. What this sting also sheds light on is that there are people who are using groups like the Sri Ram Sene to get what they want. The goverement should hold an inquiry to find out who those people are. Follow the money, and everything will come tumbling out.

Theatre Personality

I am not surprised. In India everything works for money. Your sting exposes moral policing as gangster politics, but then, that’s the way most parties work in India. Let there be an investigation, and such outfits served what they deserve. What’s worse — it’s done for money, not any 'just cause'. The government should ban the threat of violence in any protest

Shiv Sena leader and MP

What has come out is quite shameful and shocking about the people who have been creating so much ruckus over the last few years -- slapping women, hitting people on street, and portraying themselves as a moral brigade and protectors of culture.T hey should be given severe punishment. Whatever Muthalik says to defend himself, it has clearly been proved that these people are after money. The law should definetely take its own course and severe punishment must be handed over to them.

Delhi-based Civil Rights activist

I am not in favour of banning organisations, but I feel tthe Sene must be prosecuted and held answerable to the serious charges against them. Sting journalism may be a contentious area of debate in itself - but Muthalik and his allies are certainly in no position to involve themselves in any such debates right now, given their own moral lapses.

AICC general secretary

The chief minister should take strict action. Muthalik should be arrested immediately. What other proof is required, when he has been caught on camera demanding cash. Mr Yeddyurappa does not have the courage to rein the Sene chief in

Joint Director, CSDS

At one level I’m uncomfortable with the idea of stings, there’s still a level of continuing ambivalence towards them. But in this instance, it’s difficult to give an unmodulated reaction. I’m very happy at the exposure of Muthalik – it’s very important. People like Muthalik should be booked anyway, we don’t need a sting for it. For example, right wing elements were able to stop Anand Patwardhan’s film screening in Goa some time ago. There’s enough reason for them to be booked, for disturbing the common peace. I’m all for prosecuting them.

Secretary, SAHMAT

You know certain things happen but you have no evidence. Such as Tehelka showing the role of Babu Bajrangi before the Gujarat elections. The most important thing about this is to have an expose´ about it. Tehelka needs to be lauded and congratulated for it. There should be suo moto action by the government and the judiciary against the likes of Bajrangi and Muthalik. Without political will, however, nothing can happen. But to have this so blatantly in the public domain now – them openly asking for money – shows that religion is a big industry in India.


I’ve always been in favour of your stings – all of them have been good. I’m opposed to all kinds of censorship – moral policing is wrong. We can’t take the law in our own hands [but] need to tell the public about the wrongs, and create public opinion that doesn’t tolerate it. In democracy, there will always be demagogues and rabble-rousers. They are there in the oldest democracy – the USA has people like Sarah Palin. All you can do is convert people’s hearts and minds. At every opportunity we have to remind ourselves we’re a civilized country, and Tehelka does that for us.

Art historian

I don't think we needed the sting to arrest Pramod Muthalik. He is a monster, but it is curious to watch other monsters attack him now. I am against banning the Sene. Banning is an instrument of the state that can be used against pretty much anybody. Muthalik should be arrested. But one should also examine the violence with which the middle class is reacting to events — hang Kasab, kill Muthalik... I suspect political formations in India, bigger than the Sene, also organise rent-a-riots. It is not unheard of in the US either. I doubt if the BJP in Karnataka will have the guts to arrest Muthalik.