Girls at pub chased, beaten up, molested
In an incident of moral policing in Karnataka, a group of men in Mangalore attacked a group of women in a pub on Saturday afternoon.
The attack was carried out by members of the Sri Ram Sena, who said they had received complaints from the public about the presence of young women.
The five or six women in the pub were chased out and hit by the self-appointed moral police. Members of the Sri Ram Sena have justified their actions.
"The public had complained to us," said Dinakar Shetty, legal advisor to Sri Ram Sena.
The police have made ten arrests in the case - charging the men with criminal assault, intimidation, outrage of modesty and criminal trespass.
"Strong action will be taken against the culprits," said A M Prasad, Inspector General, west Mangalore.
This is sadly not an isolated incident of groups taking the law into their own hands. Churches and prayer halls around Mangalore were attacked just a few months ago over alleged conversions. In Bangalore, rave parties on the outskirts of the city were raided - not by police - but by members of the Kannada Rakshana Vedike.
A state that once had a strong image of peace and tolerance seems to be heading in a very different direction now.
Ten suspected activists of Sri Ram Sena were arrested and remanded to judicial custody till January 27 on Sunday on charges of assaulting the guests of the pub last night, police said today.
"About 15 to 20 activists, reportedly belonging to Sri Ram Sena, barged into the pub late last night and assaulted boys and girls dancing there," said Inspector General of Police (Western Range) A M Prasad.
Even the girls were not spared by the agitated activists who chased and thrashed the victims when they tried to flee from the pub on the busy Balmatta Road in the heart of the city, eyewitnesses claimed.
The incident was immediately condemned by the opposition Congress and the state National Commission for Women which promised to take suo-motu action against the culprits while the ruling BJP said it was sure that the state government will take strict action against the guilty.
Prasad said the attackers accused the pub owner of allowing the boys and girls to dance and act in an "obscene manner". No damage has been caused to the pub, he added.
Terming the incident as "unfortunate, Karnataka NCW member Nirmala Venkatesh said the attackers had badly beaten victims especially girls and suo-motu action will be taken against them. There were also allegations of some of the girls being molested.
"Those people (attackers) simply came in and started beating the girls. It was a bad scene. Our waiters tried to stop them but they did not listen and kept assaulting the girls," pub owner A Krishna said.