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Not Candy and Flowers, But Beatings For Women Who Celebrate Valentine's Day in India

By February 9, 2009

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Culturally speaking, the US exports everything from TV shows to holidays; and various nations around the globe seem eager to embrace Western ways and adopt our customs.

Not so with Valentine's Day. And a stark reminder of this is taking place in India, where Hindu extremists have threatened to attack people who attempt to celebrate this holiday.

Writing for the Telegraph, Ben Farmer explains:

Militants belonging to a group called Sri Ram Sena, who claim to be custodians of Indian culture, said Valentine's Day is un-Indian.

The threat comes days after the group's activists stormed a bar in the south western city of Mangalore, dragging out and beating women they accused of acting obscenely and "going astray".

The attack led to fears an extremist "Hindu Taliban" was on the rise in India.

Gangadhar Kulkarni, an activist in the group, which is a radical wing of the Hindu nationalist movement, said: "If people celebrate the day despite our warning, then we will definitely attack them."

"Valentine's Day is definitely not Indian culture. We will not allow celebration of that day in any form," added Pramod Mutalik, the group's founder.

For an insider's view of Valentine's Day in India, read Indian feminist, author and blogger Sarojini Sahoo's thoughts on the holiday.

Related article: Feminism in India

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