Karnataka Hindu vigilante group Sri Ram Sene’s founder Pramod Muthalik has claimed that he faces a threat to his life from his former colleagues in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

“I know my enemies well. Congress, Communists, intellectuals are my enemies. But they are known enemies. They work against me,” Muthalik, who shot to infamy after his followers attacked a pub in Mangalore in 2009, told News18. “I am worried about my own people who can harm me. They are good at backstabbing.”

What happened to Pravin Togadia might happen to me too, Muthalik said. Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s International Working President Pravin Togadia had on January 16 had alleged that attempts were being made to silence him for raising matters related to the Hindu community, such as on the Ayodhya dispute, welfare schemes for farmers and the law on cow slaughter. He made the statement a day after he was reported missing.

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Muthalik added that the top RSS leader in Karnataka, Mangesh Bhende, does not like him. Bhende has the backing of former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and Dharwad MP Prahlad Joshi. “They don’t want me in north Karnataka,” he said.

“My own people are after me. They don’t like my popularity. I am worried,” Muthalik said. “They don’t like anyone getting name and fame. They have a slave mindset.” He also claimed that he had been forced to leave the RSS because he achieved a lot both with and without them.

The Hindutva leader said he had “wasted” 40 years of his life for the Sangh, and was now disillusioned. “RSS leaders talk about Hindu unity [but] they don’t like their own people. How will they achieve unity?”

However, he said his faith in Hindutva was intact. So, he launched the Karnataka unit of the Shiv Sena on January 12 ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections in the state. They will teach the Bharatiya Janata Party a lesson, he has vowed.

“We will contest around 50 seats,” Muthalik had told Scroll.in earlier. “Sri Ram Sene will remain an independent cultural organisation but our cadres will work for Shiv Sena candidates in Karnataka.” The state has 224 Assembly seats.