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India's moral police strike again

A bunch of thugs from a rightwing Hindu organization attacked women drinking in a pub in Mangalore, Karnataka "Taliban style" this weekend, reports the Indian Express.  

To me, it was just more evidence that India isn't as liberal as outsiders from the West tend to assume. The "spirichewel" country that the backpackers come looking for — thinking Hinduism is the free-love philosophy of Osho and similar godmen — is actually a deeply conservative place.  

But the "Taliban" reference seems a bit extreme. It's true that you can get beat up for making out in a park on Valentine's Day or (if you're a woman) for drinking in a pub. But mostly India's a safe place, tolerant to the point of nonviolence. It's the gossipy disapproval, lecherous (or censorious) stares, sermonizing etc that can get overbearing.