Stop attacks on women in Karnataka, India

  • By: Syed Tanveeruddin
  • Target: Hon'ble Supreme Court, President, PM, MHA, NIA, NCW, NHRC, SHRC & CS

Implement Supreme Court directives on Police reforms
Be grateful daughter is back: Karnataka Home Minister to Kerala MLA-The Times of India 08 Feb 2009
Hindu suicide squad spells out its mission CNN-IBN Fri, Sep 26, 2008
Last Update: Thu, March 12, 2009 @ 13:40 hrs IST  Indian Std. Time
SRS back in action, allegedly kidnaps MLA's daughter CNN-IBN
Gangs attack women in %u2018western attire%u2019  - The Hindu, Thursday, Feb 26, 2009
http://www.hindu.com/2009/02/26/images/2009022658410301.jpg

Hindu suicide squad spells out its mission CNN-IBN Fri, Sep 26, 2008
FEAR FACTOR: Ram Sena, a self proclaimed army of God, was started by Pramod Mutalik.
FEAR FACTOR: Ram Sena, a self proclaimed army of God, was started by Pramod Mutalik.
http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/74411/hindu-suicide-squad-spells-out-its-mission.html

Bangalore: Two days after the first attack on churches, the streets of Mangalore wore a deserted look. But it wasn't the VHP or the Christians who had called the bandh.

The fear of a new and little known outfit 'the Sri Ram Sena, a self proclaimed army of God started by radical thinker Pramod Mutalik' kept residents indoors.

According to Mutalik there are "1,132 members in the suicide squad."

"
They keep track of activities of anti-Hindu and anti-national groups. They also inform the police. From our side, we want to help the police as much as possible. If the police can't stop this, our teams will," Mutalik said.

The Ram Sena reportedly holds arms training camps in Mangalore, Belgaum and Shimoga.

"Our motive is to kill anti-national elements. In Hubli, Belguam, Goa and Dharwad, we were the ones to lead the police to terror training camps. We told them about their activities," Mutalik revealed.

Mutalik started out as a saffron activist but over the last few months, the BJP has been shying away from associating with him and the Ram Sena.

"Ram Sena is not with us. They are not our outfit," BJP leader and Karnataka Home Minister VS Acharya said.

The police claim the Ram Sena is all talk and false threats. Sources also say the sena's commitment does not match those of fundamentalist groups like the SIMI.

Though, Mutalik is currently evading arrest for making provocative speeches, saffron observers say his fundamentalism is weak, but not to be ignored.

8 hurt as Hindu group attacks women in Mangalore pub
http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/83670/8-hurt-as-hindu-group-attacks-women-in-mangalore-pub.html
MORAL PENAL CODE: Police have arrested ten people on charges of physical assault and criminal intimidation.

Mangalore: Members of a self appointed moral police Sri Ram Sena barged into a Mangalore pub and beat up eight women on Sunday.

About 40 activists allegedly from the Hindu fundamentalist group Sri Rama Sena gatecrashed into a Mangalore pub and thrashed up people inside. Eight women were injured two of them seriously.

"There are some activities going on here that spoil Hindu tradition. We've just shown our frustration at that assault on Indian tradition. We don't like such indecent behavior and tried to stop it," said Sri Rama Sena spokesperson, Dinakar.

The Mangalore Police have arrested ten people on charges of physical assault and criminal intimidation. But the Sri Ram Sena says it will repeat such attacks despite the huge public outcry.

"I have taken up the case and wanted to speak to IG but he is not taking my calls. I will make sure that the culprits are arrested," said member of National Commission for Women, Nirmala Venkatesh.

Mangalore has seen an increase in moral policing over the past one year which is blotting the cosmopolitan image of the coastal city.

Pub attack victims too scared to come forward CNN-IBN Fri, Jan 30, 2009
SRS'S MIGHT: Victims say it is a small town and they will be targetted again if they give a statement.
SRS'S MIGHT: Victims say it is a small town and they will be targetted again if they give a statement.
http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/84010/pub-attack-victims-too-scared-to-come-forward.html

Mangalore: While the head of the Sri Ram Sene in Karnataka, Pramod Muthalik was denied bail in the Mangalore pub attack case on Thursday, what has held the police back is none of the victims of the attack have contacted the police or given a statement.

"It's a small town. People will recognise us and they could strike again. The next time it will be worse." This is what the people at the end of the Mangalore attacks are saying when CNN-IBN approached them.

On Saturday at a pub in Mangalore called Amnesia, young girls were pulled out of their chairs, beaten and even thrown on the ground by Sri Ram Sene activists in the name of morality and culture but so far, none of them have come forward to complain.

IGP Western Zone, A M Prasad says, "Nobody has filed complaints yet. We are trying not to get into their privacy. None of the girls' families have come forward."

And this was not the only attack. Mangalore has recently seen similar attacks, though on a smaller scale. Young boys and girls have been targetted for befriending each other - particularly if they are from different communities.

A few hours after the attack at Amnesia, another attack was reported from the Balmatta road area. Two Muslim tenants of a house were stabbed by suspected Sri Ram Sene activists and one of them was wounded seriously.

The man who was attacked is now recovering from multiple stab wound injuries, but is too afraid to come out against his attackers, lest he be targetted again.

A M Prasad says such cases have been taken up and the police are trying to sort through them.

However this is not the end of it. Even as mediapersons waited to cover Pramod Muthalik's court hearing in Mangalore they were threatened by followers of the Sri Ram Sene who warned them that if the report was not done in a pro-Hindutva manner, the mediapersons would have to face Sri Ram Sene's wrath.

Mangalore attack: Victims too scared to go to police CNN-IBN Fri, Jan 30, 2009
RADICALISATION: The conservative sections want to decide the moral meter of residents of Mangalore.
RADICALISATION: The conservative sections want to decide the moral meter of residents of Mangalore.
http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/84071/mangalore-attack-victims-too-scared-to-go-to-police.html
Mangalore: The judicial custody of Pramod Muthalik, the alleged conspirator of the Mangalore pub attacks ends today. Fearing for their lives none of the victims have contacted the police or given their statements.

"It's a small town and people will recognise us. They could strike again the next time. it will be worse, " said one person when a reporter contacted for details.

Pictures of the ugly attack at the Mangalore pub on Saturday were shown across all national channels. People were shocked to see young girls pulled out of their chairs, beaten and even thrown to the ground. But so far not one victim has come forward to lodge a complaint.

AM Prasad, IGP, Western Range said,"Nobody has filed complaints yet but we're trying not to get into their privacy, none of the girls families have come forward."

These are not isolated incidents, Mangalore has recently seen similar attacks, though on a smaller scale. Young boys and girls have been targeted for be-friending each other, particularly if they are from different communities.

Man who fought Mangalore pub attackers threatened CNN-IBN
STANDING TALL: This young man dared to fend off attackers who targeted women in the pub.
STANDING TALL: This young man dared to fend off attackers who targeted women in the pub.
http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/84235/man-who-fought-mangalore-pub-attackers-threatened.html 
Meanwhile, in Mangalore, the hero who had dared to intervene when the women were attacked at the pub says he facing trouble for trying to save the women.

"They are trying to spread a rumour that I am a Muslim but I am not a Muslim. My name is Pawan Shetty," said the Mangalore hero.

N Satheesh Kumar, the SP of Mangalore said, "He has given us a complaint. He has given us a number also. We have some information on that but we will do it."

A day after the 28 accused in the case walked out on bail, the state police thought it fit to register them as rowdy-sheeters so they can keep extra vigil.

Mangalore wears an uneasy calm but there's an underlying tension as everyone knows that the Ram Sena activists who carried out that attack now walk free.

Repeated enquiries cannot push away the fact that the police case will be weak until the actual victims speak out.

Hooliganism, not moral policing Zee News Jan 31, 2009
http://www.zeenews.com/exclusive/2009-01-31/503470news.html

Ritesh Srivastava

The violent attack on a group of weekend revellers in a Mangalore pub by the activists of Sri Ram Sena on January 24, 2009 is yet another scar on the face of our nation (India), which co-incidentally boasts of being the world's largest democracy.

The Mangalore pub assault case also undermines claims that India is a shining example to all the dictatorial regimes across the world where peoples' will is not crushed with an iron fist and the citizens are allowed to live freely and peacefully.

What was more dastardly was the way that the so-called 'Moral Police' singled out the female clients in the pub and dealt with them in the same manner as the white coloniser would have done with a marginalised slave, inflicting physical pain and mental torture on the victim.

Undermining Free India

The shameful act not only casts bad light on the nation, it also brings the issue of moral policing to the fore once again. The issue has also kick-started a fierce debate over the legitimacy of such acts in the name of protecting societal values, religious sentiments and cultural heritage. The horrifying visual of Sri Ram Sena activists dragging women visitors out of the pub, beating them and distorting their honour and self respect, have compelled us to think how much longer can we tolerate these barbaric acts.

The most debated question in the aftermath of the incident is whether we need 'police' to protect ourselves and enforce law and order or hooligans alias the self-styled protectors of our cultural legacy who dictate to us about what to do and what not to?

The point is, first of all, who has given them the right to take law into their hands, get involved in such hideous acts and degrade people's self respect and dignity just in the name of protecting our culture.

The Mangalore pub attack incident, which was condemned by every section of our society in the strongest terms, is for sure an 'act of hooliganism' that reminds one of the Taliban militia, which has made the lives of Afghan women deplorable through its decrees.

What happened in Mangalore is nothing new; rather, it's just another in the chain of events which shocked us earlier. It seems that it has become a fashion these days to target innocent people or sometimes celebrities to dictate a carefully crafted agenda to gain political mileage or for cheap publicity.

Incidents like Mangalore pub assaults are actually an offshoot of an ideology which works for a vested interest. The peoples' outcry against such acts, criticism of their agenda all help these elements to succeed in spreading their message and reign of terror.

According to sociologists, in most of the cases the motive is to get maximum attention even if it comes by exploiting the sentiments of a common man.

Chequered Past

Can any one forget how our ace tennis star and youth icon Sania Mirza was targeted for her dressing, which supposedly brought Islam into bad light?

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's (MNS) violent campaign against North Indians and Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan and his family is a reflection of the darker side of Indian politics, which has given a long rope to such elements to flex their muscles at will.

Every year on St Valentine's Day, security around popular public places is tightened fearing the wrath of Shiv Sainiks and Bajrang Dal workers against those blamed for the Westernisation of the Indian culture.

The Hindu, Muslim fundamentalists, who wreck shops selling Saint Valentine's Day cards spreading the message of love or issue a fatwa (unmindful of the consequences of their act) whenever 'Islam' is in danger, have nothing to do with the daily life problems of common man.

There is no denying the fact that we need to protect and preserve our diverse cultural legacy, which we have inherited from our forefathers for generations. There should be restrictions on things like extreme public display of one's affectionate feelings, indecent obscene acts, passing lewd remarks or gestures against someone.

But these issues should come under the purview of law of the land and dealt by law-enforcing bodies not by goons.

As responsible and mature citizens of India, it is our duty to set high standards of public life through our own examples. We should not commit any activity which offends caste or religious sentiments of any particular community, incites hatred, and brings disgrace to society or the nation.

Much hue and cry has been raised over obscenity and violence in films and television, and on the easy availability of pornographic material in the local market, but has it stopped anyone from picking or buying anything that arouses his interest?

We should be our own 'moral police' to check our actions. But where we need to draw the line should be our prerogative alone and not be dictated by a group of people, a religious body or a political party.

On the other hand, why have these groups not issued a fatwa against a tainted/ corrupt minister; why don't they act against the rapists, murders or burglars; why have they failed to act against the political parties, forums, bodies inciting communal disharmony; why haven't they blown a whistle against an irresponsible government?

We now need to understand that this concept of moral policing is a cancer that is usurping from us our fundamental rights. It is slowly ruining and distorting the cultural fabric of our society. The Indian media should also play a role in ensuring deterrence to such attacks by highlighting our disdain for them and ensuing proper legal follow up of such action with proper punishments.

It is quite convenient to watch the proceedings on a TV in the comforts of your home and pity the plight of the victims of such incidents; the lesson that must be learnt is that if we don't take a strong stance to silence the growing hisses of the serpents of self-proclaimed morality brigade, we would ourselves become their victims sooner than later.

Mangalore pub row: Sri Ram Sene men get bail CNN-IBN Sat, Jan 31, 2009 at 21:05
FREE BIRD: The court directed Pramod Muthalik not to influence prosecution witnesses.

Mangalore: Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik has been given conditional bail in the Mangalore pub attack case.

A Mangalore local court granted bail to all 28 Sri Ram Sene (SRS) activists including Convener Prasad Attawar in the case. All the SRS activists were arrested for attacking young girls at a pub in Mangalore on January 24.

Muthalik has been given a conditional bail with the riders that he should not influence with prosecution witnesses.

The court also directed that Muthalik should not involve in such activities any more. He will also have to appear before investigation office Umesh Shet on the first Sunday of every month.

Muthalik described his release as a victory for the agitation against the pub culture.

"This is a victory for all those who are fighting against pub culture in Mangalore. Our agitation has won," said a defiant Muthalik.

"What we have done in Mangalore is a big success story in out fight against indecency. We are thankful to our Mangalore cadre for everything that they have done," he said while addressing a press conference outside the court.

Muthalik, who was earlier a member of the Bajrang Dal, will be taken to Madikeri by Karnataka Police where he is an accused of inciting communal tension and has been booked under IPC Section 153-A.

Meanwhile, students and women's group are up in arms against the National Commission for Women (NCW) for blaming the pub owner rather than the attackers for the incident.

The head of the NCW's fact finding commission, Nirmala Venkatesh blamed the pub-owner and held them responsible for the attack on girls in the Mangalore pub.

Nirmala said the incident happened because of lack of security at the Mangalore pub and said she would demand the licence of the pub owners be cancelled.

A group of Sri Ram Sene activists had on January 24 forcefully entered into the Amnesia Bar and Restaurant on Dr Shivaram Karanth Road and assaulted women and girls present there.

They were objecting to women consuming alcohol claiming it was against Indian culture.

Pub attack victims too scared to come forward CNN-IBN Fri, Jan 30, 2009
SRS'S MIGHT: Victims say it is a small town and they will be targetted again if they give a statement.

Ram Sene chief out on bail, calls it a 'victory' CNN-IBN Sat, Jan 31, 2009 at 23:37
SAFFRON PROTEST: ABVP is also demostrating to condemn what they call 'pub culture'.
SAFFRON PROTEST: ABVP is also demostrating to condemn what they call 'pub culture'.
Bangalore: Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik is out on bail on conditions that he would neither tamper with prosecution witnesses, nor involve in any such activities.

The 28 Sri Ram Sene activists arrested in the Mangalore pub attack case too are out on bail. The Sri Ram Sene sees this as sign of their victory.

"It is a victory of our revolution. Three chief ministers have acknowledged the shutting down of pub culture," says Muthalik.

But in the streets of Mangalore the protests against the pub attack have gathered more steam. This time students and teachers from all the colleges are protesting not just against the attack but also against the National Women's Commission's support for the Sri Ram Sena.

"How can we justify a crime against the constitution," says a social activist Prof Rita Noronha.

The saffron camp is not keeping quiet either, there are doing a counter demonstration to condemn what they call pub culture.

The saffron organisations now see this as an opportunity to further their cause. They will soon start house to house campaigns to spread what they call true Indian values.

Not only Shiv Sena, Ram Sene dislikes cupid too CNN-IBN Tue, Feb 03, 2009
LORDS POINT: The Ram Sena is calling Valentines Day, 'anti-Indian culture' and has warned people of attacks.

New Delhi:
Taking a cue from the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, the Shri Ram sena is getting ready to disrupt Valentine's day celebrations in Karnataka.

The Ram Sena is calling Valentines Day, 'anti-Indian culture' and has warned people of attacks if they try to celebrate it.

Meanwhile Ram Sena chief Pramod Muthalik who is now out on conditional bail says he will send a memorandum on this to the Chief Minister and the governor.

"We will ban the Valentine's Day. We will not take law in our hand we will give a memorandum to govt. of Karnataka. This is a western culture which we will not allow to survive here. Everyday is lover's day, but we will not allow this on Valentine's day," says Muthalik.

The warning has been extended to educational institutions, restaurants and shops selling gifts and greetings.

And there's more. There are hoardings put up by the residents themselves of Srinagar's karan nagar area, they are the posters that threatens people with dire consequences if found mixing with the opposite sex.

"I have come to know about this poster and that is exactly what I had said. This is talibanisation of women. It a security threat and it should be viewed like that," says minister of Women and child development, Renuka Chaudhary.

Ironically, all this in a country where the judiciary is actually in favor of public affection. The Delhi High Court has recently pulled up the local police for slapping an obscenity case against a married couple who were allegedly kissing outside a court.

"It is inconceivable how an expression of love by a young married couple would attract offence of obscenity and trigger the coercive process of law," says Justice Muralidhar.

The commissioner of Delhi police also agrees that moral policing is not in their list of duties.

"It's not our job to do moral policing, to pick up couples, this is not what we do.," says Delhi Police commissioner, Y S Dhadwal.

But it's going to take a lot more than legal action to stop the moral brigade.

Ram Sene warns against celebrating Valentine's Day CNN-IBN Wed, Feb 04, 2009
MORAL POLICE: Pramod Muthalik says his outfit will disrupt Valentine's Day celebration.
MORAL POLICE: Pramod Muthalik says his outfit will disrupt Valentine's Day celebration.
Bangalore: Fresh from the Mangalore pub assault, Shri Ram Sene is bracing up for the Valentine's Day.

The Sene plans to protest any Valentine's Day celebration on February 14 in Karnataka and is meeting on Wednesday to fine tune its agenda.

Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik, who is now out on conditional bail in the Mangalore Pub attack case, has made it clear that his outfit will disrupt Valentine's Day celebration as it is against Indian culture.

"We are going to protest it. We will send memorandums to Home Minister and Chief Minister (of Karnataka) and we will also alert the police officials for all the hotels and colleges where the day will be celebrated with pomp and show," said Muthalik.

Muthalik claimed that celebrating Valentine's Day is an international conspiracy and blamed Christians for the celebrations.

"Valentine's day, Friendship Day... all these are international conspiracies against our culture. They are exploiting the girls by calling it as lover's day. Love cannot be for a single day. This is a conspiracy by the Christians," Muthalik said. He, however, ruled out joining politics.

"I am not going to join the political party at all. All thanks to media organisations we are now even getting national recognition," he said.

The warning has been extended to educational institutions, restaurants and shops selling gifts and greetings.

Meanwhile, Union Minister for Women and Child Developement Renuka Chowdhary urges Karnataka Government to take strict actions against Pramod Muthalik and Sri Ram Sena. Speaking about Muthalik, she said "He is not married so he doesn't know how to respect gender."

"Ram Sena is an anti-social organisation & in fact does not have an identity or legitimacy. Karnataka government should take cognizance of the incident & provide protection to women," she added.

SRS back in action, allegedly kidnaps MLA's daughter CNN-IBN Fri, Feb 06, 2009
ONCE AGAIN: Pramod Muthalik-led Sri Ram Sene has been in news after beating up young women in a Mangalore pub.
Mangalore: In yet another shocking incident in Mangalore, Sri Ram Sene activists on Friday allegedly abducted the daughter of a Kerala MLA and her male friend because both belonged to different religion but were talking and travelling together in a public bus.

According to reports Sene activists allegedly barged into the bus and picked up the girl, Shruti, and the boy and took them away in an autorickshaw.

Shruti said Ram Sene activists were angered by the fact that her companion was a Muslim. However, both of them were set free after a few hours. Her father and Kerala MLA CH Kunhambu told CNN-IBN that he suspected Ram Sene to be behind the abduction.

"I strongly believe that Sri Ram Sene and Bajrang Dal activists were behind this incident. The boy was from a different community. They were going back to their college after vacations. I have filed complaints with the police," he said.

"The incident happened in the afternoon. I believe that the driver and conductor of the bus are involved in the incident. They contacted these gundas (anti-socials) to attack. She was forcibly taken away in an auto," he added.

Karnataka Western Range Inspector General AM Prasad said Shruti was returning from her native place when the incident happened. She was reportedly taken in an autorickshaw, but was released soon after. Her male friend was also released later and both are said to be safe.

Mangalore Superintendent of Police N Sathish Kumar told CNN-IBN that a police team has gone to Shruti's local guardians%u2019 house in Mangalore for recording of statement.

Shruti and her friend are students of second year pre-university course at the St Alosyius College in the city. The boy has been identified as Shabib and is the brother of Shruti's classmate.

Sri Ram Sene has been in news after storming a pub in Mangalore on January 24 and beating up young women present there.

Be grateful daughter is back: Karnataka Home Minister to Kerala MLA-The Times of India Feb 08, 2009

MANGALORE: Two recent incidents in Mangalore - the attack on girls in a pub two weeks ago and Friday's abduction and thrashing of a college student and her friend's brother she was speaking to on a bus - have invoked a national outrage.

However, Karnataka home minister V S Acharya, instead of taking action, has done something that's bound to infuriate everyone further: he has told the girl's father, Kerala MLA C H Kunjambu: "You should take care of your children. What can we do if some goonda elements do it?"

Acharya made these shocking remarks when the CPM legislator from Manjeshwaram panicked and called him on Friday. "I am shocked by his utterances. I did not expect the home minister of a state to take the matter so lightly," said Kunjambu, whose daughter was attacked by the Hindutva brigade here. Kunjambu told TOI the Kerala CM called him on Saturday. "Forget the Karnataka CM, none of the ministers has called me."

On Saturday, Acharya justified his remarks on the state being helpless in ensuring safety of children, and said this was his advice as a parent. "Teenagers should be taken care of by their parents. In this context, I had said, 'You should take care of your children'. The state cannot do it. Parents, too, have a responsibility - a greater one - in preventing such incidents," Acharya said.

Acharya said there are always mischief mongers in society. "We will investigate who made the girl and boy disembark from the bus and what their intention was. The father should be grateful that his daughter came back home safe." Kunjambu has not taken kindly to Acharya's remarks. "I will raise this issue with the Union home minister and take it to the logical end," he told TOI.

This is not the first time Acharya has made insensitive remarks. Soon after the church attack, when the government got flak from all quarters, he shot back: "Why the fuss? Have there been any deaths? Not a single person is dead. As a home minister, I have passed in first class."

QnA: Haven't organizations like Sri Ram Sena only done more damage to Indian culture by projecting it in a conservative manner?

Bangalore landlords play moral police asking single working women to furnish character certificates on company letterheads, before renting out their houses Times of India 10 Feb 2009

BANGALORE: It's one thing to check out potential tenants for possible links with unwanted elements, but quite another to cast aspersions on 
unmarried 20-somethings.

House owners in the city are now asking single working women to furnish character certificates on company letterheads, before renting out their houses.

Given that a majority of the upwardly mobile in the city is single, this demand is proving to be a tall order - not to mention dented egos. A 29-year-old finance professional was left fuming last week when a house owner asked her for a "character" certificate. "My family and I were interested in the place as it was cheap and geographically accessible. The broker took us to the owner's house in Koramangala to negotiate the rent and deposit amount. It came as quite a shocker when he asked us for character certificates, because none of us was married!" said Claire Roberts (name changed).

She also had to face to ignominy of being asked if she ever came home past midnight. "What does he mean by that? I asked him if one has to be married at 20 to be of "good" character? I worked very hard to be where I am now. I am not going to allow some moneyed guy to disrespect me like this."

Ironically, Claire is not alone. Even very "posh" apartments in residential areas are particularly harsh on single people. The association secretary of Sena Vihar in Kammanahalli said that for reasons best known to the office-bearers, unmarried working people are denied apartments there. "We've nothing against them, it's just the association policy," the secretary told The Times of India.

IMMORAL POLICE | Bonfire of Vanity Times of India 13 Feb 2009

What happened in Mangalore recently was prevalent in Italy under Girolamo Savonarola 500 years ago, when moral laxity was identified with dancing and singing in taverns. Sculptures of gods and goddesses and works of "immoral" poets and even paintings by Botticelli and Michelangelo were objectionable. Drunk with power, he also banned the use of mirrors, cosmetics, pagan literature, chessmen, musical instruments and women's hats all symbols of depravity, in his view and these went into the infamous 'Bonfire of the Vanities' lit by Savonarola and his followers. A year later in the same place where the bonfire was lit, Savonarola was roasted over a fire and executed. Three hundred years ago, Thomas Bowdler crusaded against obscenity in literature and declared Shakespeare and Gibbons to be obscene. He rewrote sanitised versions of both, claiming that all he was doing was "removing everything that could give offence to the religious and virtuous mind". For example, "damned" in Lady Macbeth's exclamation "out damned spot!" was changed to "crimson".

Two hundred years ago, Anthony Comstock, the self-labelled "weeder in God's garden" got the US federal government to endorse his harsh censorship and harassed, arrested and sent to trial people accused of committing "objectionable" acts. He even took legal action against a paper for advertising contraceptives and forbade the use of the postal service to distribute 'obscene material' that included even anatomy textbooks for medical students. When the Woodhull sisters sent proof of adultery between Henry Ward Beecher and Elizabeth Tilton by post, he arrested them under the same law the 'obscene material' in their case was a quote from the Bible. He banned marriage manuals claiming he was "saving the young"! Insane with the power granted him, he boasted that he had sent 15 people to suicide. Today, when the countries where all three held sway have long since evolved beyond those repressive times and immoral policing, we are going back to the Dark Ages. Muthalik, helped along by chief ministers Gehlot and Yeddyurappa, has risen to save our youth against the decadent 'pub culture'. He might want to know that eventually the youth rose in revolt against Savonarola and, the first thing they did was to reopen dancing and singing taverns. And here's an extraordinary coincidence. When you erase the bushy side whiskers on Comstock's countenance, the resemblance to our guy is quite astounding.

The Hindu : National : Women's groups slam moral policing Friday, Feb 13, 2009
http://www.thehindu.com/2009/02/13/stories/2009021359841000.htm

New DELHI: Women's groups from across the country on Thursday condemned the attacks on the rights of young women by members of the sangh parivar in Mangalore.

In a resolution passed at a rally here, they said there was every danger of such attacks being carried out by these organisations in other parts of the country too.

"We also express our outrage at the response of the Karnataka government to those carrying out such attacks with complete impunity," the resolution said.

Use of phrases like 'defence of culture and tradition' have been used through the ages to curtail the rights of women and to circumscribe the exercise of their freedom of choice, it pointed out.

In Mangalore, there was a steady escalation in attacks: first, girls visiting pubs that were opened with government permission were physically assaulted; then a girl from Kerala, who spoke to a Muslim friend of her brother's in a bus coming to Mangalore, was abducted along with him by sangh parivar goons, humiliated and forced to 'apologise' for her behaviour and then let off.

In the latest case, two girls were taken off a bus along with a Muslim boy and dragged to a police station where their parents were summoned. One of the girls committed suicide after the public humiliation. Her father has filed a report of rape and inducement to suicide against the boy.

The resolution said that while the girl was at the police station she never made any complaint of rape or assault against the boy. The resolution was endorsed among others by the All-India Democratic Women's Association.

From http://www.indianexpress.com/ - IE
V-Day: We're devotees of true love, says Bajrang Dal IE Feb 13, 2009 
Calling themselves 'devotees of true love', the saffron outfit has said that youths across the country should celebrate love 365 days instead of just one day.
We'll upload pics of 'obscene' couples: Ram Sene IE Feb 13, 2009 at 1642
Muthalik arrested to save V-Day in Karnataka IE Feb 13, 2009 at 2053
Now, 'moral policing' at juice shops! IE Feb 26, 2009 at 1206

TOP ARTICLE | Clouded By Confusion Times of India 14 Feb 2009

A straight line can be drawn backwards from the Mangalore type of incidents to the Delhi murders of Nitish Katara and Jessica Lal. The canvas can be broadened to include the recent resurgence of honour crimes in northern India, instances of acid being thrown at women, and the backlash against women who dare to voice an opinion or choose a lifestyle of their choice. Young people are being punished for what is being perceived as immoral and detrimental to so-called Indian culture and tradition. Yet, physical assaults and assaults unto death cannot simply be comprehended as protests against what is objectionable to the sensibilities of some.

And it is the young who are victimising other young people, particularly women, drawing supportive responses from those responsible for law and order, whether it is a Ashok Gehlot supporting 'Indian culture' or a confused Sheila Dikshit asking women to stay indoors. The particularly virulent form the actions are taking and their vigilante nature propel us towards a more nuanced reading.

Emile Durkheim, the French sociologist, had a term and a theory to explain such (anti) social behaviour. Although his theory applied primarily to understanding suicide, it can, and has, been extended to other areas of human behaviour. Durkheim classified all periods of rapid change as leading to a state of 'anomie' or 'normlessness' in society. In such circumstances, individuals and groups are often in a 'state of confusion', uncertain of the appropriate norms to follow and uncertain of their place in society. Their response may be either in the form of extreme steps such as suicide, or violence against those perceived to be causing grievous harm to the moral foundations of society.

That India is undergoing a period of rapid transition is not in doubt; the anomie induced may be held responsible for many of the responses and incidents listed above. Indian society has had few social revolutions, such as students' revolts or strong feminist protests, or movements for greater individual freedoms, which could explain the changes we are experiencing. The transformation in Indian society has primarily been brought about by changes in the economy and technology. Yet, the social implications of far-reaching economic and technological change have been little studied or commented upon, apart from the railing we hear against globalisation and its presumed role in the destruction of 'traditional' culture and values.

For Indian women, globalisation has generally done good. It has brought them into the workforce, and done so in large numbers. Earlier, working women in India were either the elite or the poor. This picture has now changed with women of many classes choosing to work both before and after marriage. But there is a downside to this. Despite obvious class differences between women working in factories or call centres and in managerial jobs, tensions are perceptible and palpable in most families and in society at large.

Men (and in-laws) are happy that daughters, sisters and wives are bringing home incomes but are not fully reconciled to them venturing out of the house. Work and independent incomes enable women to try out new freedoms. On offer are choices and an escape from the stifling confines of parental or marital homes.

Society is uncertain about how to respond to these new demands, and the new mores espoused by the young. Which are the constituencies most affected by change? If the old are protecting so-called tradition and their own hegemony, what are the young involved in incidents such as those in Mangalore or the Nitish Katara and Jessica Lal murders protecting or fighting against? Here class combines with a more general gendered targeting young men desirous of economic and social upward mobility, who are looking from the outside at others who have already got where they secretly wish to be.

In such cases a genuine confusion over 'morals' combines with a destructive class envy, resulting in targeting of youth, especially women, who themselves are exploring the boundaries of their new freedoms. The targets are individuals who appear to have a glamorous lifestyle or putatively stand for a 'modernity' that has not yet embraced all. In all such cases, the freedoms sought to be curtailed are those of women, especially those seen as espousing a 'western modernity'. Additionally, the rise of the Hindutva parties gives a platform to these uncertain young men as defenders of 'traditional, Hindu culture,' providing them with respect from certain quarters.

That there is genuine confusion among our youth, especially among those associated with the socially conservative right, is often obvious in our classrooms. In an IIT classroom, peopled mostly with young men from small towns or cities, discussions of gender or homosexuality generally evoke embarrassed titters and reiterations of the importance of not losing 'Indian culture' to the juggernaut of globalisation.

Yet, at least some of those with politically conservative affiliations are assailed by self-doubt are they right in hating Muslims, in agreeing with excessive parental control or in looking at women wearing jeans and T-shirts as 'loose'? Conservative ideologies often become a protective shield against the flux of rapid change, especially if one nurses the feeling of being left out. It is here that a liberal arts education has a lot of work to do in our universities and educational institutes.
-The writer is a professor of social anthropology, IIT Delhi.

Gangs attack women in 'western attire' The Hindu, Thu, Feb 26, 2009
http://www.hindu.com/2009/02/26/stories/2009022658410300.htm
Two attacks in broad daylight with people just looking on

Bangalore: In what appears to be inspired by the pub attack in Mangalore, three women have been attacked in the city over the past week. All three in their 20s and in "western clothing" were subject to varying degrees of violence. The first incident took place on February 17 at 1.10 p.m. in Indiranagar, when a young woman's car was closely followed by two men on a motorcycle. "I was returning from my German class. I noticed the men following me, hooting and then overtaking my car," she said on her blog, giving a detailed account of the unprovoked assault. She was spat on and her car was blocked even as the other car drivers, instead of stopping to help, just wanted her to get out of the way.

Speaking to The Hindu on condition of anonymity, the traumatised woman said: "Everyone could see that they were being aggressive and yelling obscenities in Kannada. No one came to my rescue." After a chase, she sought refuge in an apartment building, where she was cornered. One of the men continued to shout obscenities and moved threateningly close. When she slapped him in self-defence, he punched her. "Aggravated, I shouted at him in Kannada. He was stunned to hear me speak the language. He noted down my licence plate number and told the guard he would harm me later," she said. Shaken, she filed a complaint with the Deputy Commissioner of Police (East). DCP East B.K. Singh said that the complaint was registered 48 hours after the incident. "We are not able to identify the accused as the CCTVs at the signals have recordings for 24 hours only. We are investigating."

Second assault

The second incident took place on Tuesday at 10 a.m., when a 28-year-old woman on her way to Kormangala was accosted by four men near RBANM's College in Ulsoor. "Four men got off an SUV and started screaming at me. They tugged at my clothes in front of at least eight mute spectators. One of them even pulled my shrug off, scratched my neck and hit my ear," she told The Hindu on condition of anonymity. She said that the four were all aged between 25 and 35. "When I said I would call the police, one of them offered me his mobile phone and told me to go right ahead. They saw an airline tag on my bag, got more aggravated and called me an outsider," she said. "One of them said I must be part of the pink chaddi campaign." Fortunately, an army van passed by and two soldiers ordered the men to stop harassing the woman.

"At first, the men even shoved the armymen, but stopped after they saw there were other soldiers in the van. It seemed like they were on a mission and looking for a victim," she said, adding she is too shaken to file a complaint.

Later the same day, at 9 p.m., a young filmmaker was attacked by four men near High Grounds, past the Mount Carmel College. "At first, they jostled me and I told them to back off. They shouted obscenities in Kannada. I yelled back in English, which seemed to provoke them. It grew into a fight when they punched me and said I 'deserved' it for wearing jeans and sleeveless kurta and walking alone at night." She managed to get into an autorickshaw and flee but not before they tried to drag her out. She registered a complaint at the High Grounds Police Station on Wednesday morning.

EDITORIAL COMMENT | Beyond The State Times of India 28 Feb 2009

Fundamentalists want religion to regulate the affairs of state. The Taliban in Pakistan want what they perceive to be an Islamic framework to 
address matters of governance. Sri Rama Sene and similar outfits in India seek to impose their vision of Hinduism on the Indian state. Religion and state are inseparable for these groups. A counter vision posits a clear separation of church and state in public affairs. This version of secularism evolved largely from the experience of European nations since the Enlightenment.

Indic traditions do not define state in religious terms. In other words, the tension between church and state so central to the evolution of nation states and the idea of secularism in Europe was never intense in the subcontinent. The religion of the ruler was not always the religion of a majority of subjects. Religion did influence the social code and many social institutions sought legitimacy from religious traditions and texts. But there were few attempts to cast public life in strictly religious terms in India, unlike in Europe. That, perhaps, is why multi-religious communities flourished in the Indian subcontinent for centuries.

A plausible explanation for this unique historical trajectory would be that the absence of a well-defined church in most Indic religious traditions helped the state to evolve relatively independent of religious forces. Hinduism has been a conglomeration of numerous traditions and sects that did not subscribe to any single, over-arching church. This feature is true not only for other indigenous belief systems like Buddhism and Jainism but also faiths like Islam and Christianity that came to India from West Asia. The multiplicity of faiths and their federal structure prevented any one of them from imposing a specific vision of faith on the rest and create monolithic religious communities. Therefore, a uniquely Indian view of the influence of religion on public affairs could be that religion should focus on matters of a higher reason. The mundane aspects of everyday life and politics should be left to rulers while truly religious people keep their distance from statecraft.

A voluntary separation of religion and state where religion, in a sense, is beyond state exists in this experience. This is a vision that offers a fresh perspective on secularism. We might reclaim it for our times. People need to realise that those who pursue political goals in the name of religion are vilifying the true spirit of the latter. Such transgression goes against the truth of every religion. Public affairs are to be managed with political documents, like the Constitution.

Change Rama Sena, here comes Sita Sene-Bangalore-Cities-The Times of India, Mar 05, 2009

Karnataka Government lambasted for attacks on women The Hindu Mysore, Monday, Mar 09, 2009
http://www.hindu.com/2009/03/09/stories/2009030956660300.htm
It is necessary to protest against violence unleashed by 'culture police' in the State: sanghatane
Police officer Devamma offers help to harassed women to fight for justice
Shobha Karandlaje criticised for not condemning alleged molestation of tribal women in H.D. Kote
Celebration: The president of the State unit of the Janavadi Mahila Sanghatane, K.S. Vimala (centre), inaugurating the function organised to observe the International Women's Day in Mysore on Sunday.

Mysore:
Speakers at the International Women's Day organised by Working Women Coordination Committee (WWCC) here on Sunday lambasted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government in the State for unleashing violence against women in the name of religion and culture.

They alleged that violence, intimidation, threat and insults have increased in the last nine months tenure of the BJP Government and called upon women across the State to fight against injustice heaped on them by the self proclaimed protectors of culture. They have also cautioned that if women do not protest against violence against women in the name of religion and culture, it will be detrimental to future generation of women.

Inaugurating the International Women's Day at the Institute of Engineers, the president of the State unit of the Janavadi Mahila Sanghatane, K.S. Vimala, called upon working women to fight against violence heaped on by "culture police" in the name of religion and culture. She recalled the several attacks on women in Mangalore, Bangalore and Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts and added that the BJP Government in the State, which claimed to be pro-women, was unleashing violence, insults on women and treating them heinously.

"Failure to protest against the phenomenon would help these culture police in gaining an upper hand and future will be unsafe for our children. Our children have to act according to diktats of these so called cultural protectors", she said.

Criticising Bangalore Police Commissioner Shankar Bidri for trivialising the attacks on women, Ms. Vimala sought to know from whom women could expect protection when the Commissioner himself had no concern for women.

Anganwadi Workers' Association president Sunanda presided over the function. She said woman's struggle for survival begins when she is in the womb as female foeticide continues though laws have been enacted to tackle the social problem. The Karnataka Government had failed to punish those guilty of foeticide but was extending "Bhagyalakshmi" scheme for girl child which had struggled to take birth, she noted.

The BJP Government, which earmarked Rs. 400 crore for the Hindu religious institutions (Temples), did not bother to earmark Rs. 40 crore for anganwadi workers to address their problems, she said.

The State Government which unashamedly defends pub attack was giving licences to open liquor shops and bars. Sunanda took a dig at the District in-charge Minister Shobha Karandlaje for remaining silent when forest officials allegedly molested tribal women in H.D. Kote taluk and police officials refused to register a complaint.

How people can help women in distress Hindu Monday, Mar 09, 2009
http://www.hindu.com/2009/03/09/stories/2009030960010300.htm
'Take Back The Night' engages passers-by in conversation through short plays
- Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.
http://www.hindu.com/2009/03/09/images/2009030960010301.jpg
Women's organisations creating awareness on rescuing women in distress in Bangalore on Sunday.


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This petition's been addressed to the Hon'ble Supreme Court, President, PM, Ministry of Home Affairs or MHA, National Investigation Agency or NIA, National Commission for Women or NCW, National Human Rights Commission or NHRC, State Human Rights Commission or SHRC & Chief Secretary or CS.

http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/74411/hindu-suicide-squad-spells-out-its-mission.html

Last Update: Thu, March 12, 2009 @ 13:40 hrs IST  Indian Std. Time

Source: http://thepinkchaddicampaign.blogspot.com/ Sunday, Mar 1, 09
Source: http://www.petitiononline.com/atackwom/
Attacks on Women in Karnataka

Hooliganism, not moral policing Zee News Jan 31, 2009
http://www.zeenews.com/exclusive/2009-01-31/503470news.html

Ritesh Srivastava

The violent attack on a group of weekend revellers in a Mangalore pub by the activists of Sri Ram Sena on January 24, 2009 is yet another scar on the face of our nation (India), which co-incidentally boasts of being the world's largest democracy.

The Mangalore pub assault case also undermines claims that India is a shining example to all the dictatorial regimes across the world where peoples' will is not crushed with an iron fist and the citizens are allowed to live freely and peacefully.

What was more dastardly was the way that the so-called 'Moral Police' singled out the female clients in the pub and dealt with them in the same manner as the white coloniser would have done with a marginalised slave, inflicting physical pain and mental torture on the victim.

Undermining Free India

The shameful act not only casts bad light on the nation, it also brings the issue of moral policing to the fore once again. The issue has also kick-started a fierce debate over the legitimacy of such acts in the name of protecting societal values, religious sentiments and cultural heritage. The horrifying visual of Sri Ram Sena activists dragging women visitors out of the pub, beating them and distorting their honour and self respect, have compelled us to think how much longer can we tolerate these barbaric acts.

The most debated question in the aftermath of the incident is whether we need 'police' to protect ourselves and enforce law and order or hooligans alias the self-styled protectors of our cultural legacy who dictate to us about what to do and what not to?

The point is, first of all, who has given them the right to take law into their hands, get involved in such hideous acts and degrade people's self respect and dignity just in the name of protecting our culture.

The Mangalore pub attack incident, which was condemned by every section of our society in the strongest terms, is for sure an 'act of hooliganism' that reminds one of the Taliban militia, which has made the lives of Afghan women deplorable through its decrees.

What happened in Mangalore is nothing new; rather, it's just another in the chain of events which shocked us earlier. It seems that it has become a fashion these days to target innocent people or sometimes celebrities to dictate a carefully crafted agenda to gain political mileage or for cheap publicity.

Incidents like Mangalore pub assaults are actually an offshoot of an ideology which works for a vested interest. The peoples' outcry against such acts, criticism of their agenda all help these elements to succeed in spreading their message and reign of terror.

According to sociologists, in most of the cases the motive is to get maximum attention even if it comes by exploiting the sentiments of a common man.

Chequered Past

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's (MNS) violent campaign against North Indians and Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan and his family is a reflection of the darker side of Indian politics, which has given a long rope to such elements to flex their muscles at will.

Every year on St Valentine's Day, security around popular public places is tightened fearing the wrath of Shiv Sainiks and Bajrang Dal workers against those blamed for the Westernisation of the Indian culture.

The Hindu, Muslim fundamentalists, who wreck shops selling Saint Valentine's Day cards spreading the message of love or issue a fatwa (unmindful of the consequences of their act) whenever 'Islam' is in danger, have nothing to do with the daily life problems of common man
.

There is no denying the fact that we need to protect and preserve our diverse cultural legacy, which we have inherited from our forefathers for generations. There should be restrictions on things like extreme public display of one's affectionate feelings, indecent obscene acts, passing lewd remarks or gestures against someone.

But these issues should come under the purview of law of the land and dealt by law-enforcing bodies not by goons.

As responsible and mature citizens of India, it is our duty to set high standards of public life through our own examples. We should not commit any activity which offends caste or religious sentiments of any particular community, incites hatred, and brings disgrace to society or the nation.


We should be our own 'moral police' to check our actions. But where we need to draw the line should be our prerogative alone and not be dictated by a group of people, a religious body or a political party.

On the other hand, why have these groups not issued a fatwa against a tainted/ corrupt minister; why don't they act against the rapists, murders or burglars; why have they failed to act against the political parties, forums, bodies inciting communal disharmony; why haven't they blown a whistle against an irresponsible government?

We now need to understand that this concept of moral policing is a cancer that is usurping from us our fundamental rights. It is slowly ruining and distorting the cultural fabric of our society. The Indian media should also play a role in ensuring deterrence to such attacks by highlighting our disdain for them and ensuing proper legal follow up of such action with proper punishments.

It is quite convenient to watch the proceedings on a TV in the comforts of your home and pity the plight of the victims of such incidents; the lesson that must be learnt is that if we don't take a strong stance to silence the growing hisses of the serpents of self-proclaimed morality brigade, we would ourselves become their victims sooner than later.

More than 80 attacks and cases of moral policing have been reported from all over Karnataka in the last six months. Women have faced physical attacks by gangs of strangers.

Goons are being allowed to disrupt the lives of ordinary citizens with impunity. There's been a growing lawlessness in the State - a situation where people can attack women and walk free.

These women, without the slightest provocation - unless exercising your rights as a free citizen of India by travelling, driving a car, or walking on the street as all of us have the right to do - can be counted as a provocation - were threatened, intimidated, cursed, and beaten.

Women are being targeted in the name of morality, culture and "public decency" by Hindu right wing organizations. In Bangalore, the reasons for the attacks have been on similar lines - during the attacks, the girls were insulted for wearing jeans, sleeveless shirts and speaking English.

They are part of a series of attacks inflicted on women in the name of 'morality', attacks that are escalating as women resist and fight back. Some women will be traumatized for life; others will be afraid to walk the streets of their own cities again.

These attacks are nothing less than a dastardly attempt to circumscribe the freedom of movement of women. Two women have committed suicide after humiliation from right-wing forces.

These attacks are crimes against women. They are legal offences. They are neither isolated events nor trivial incidents of 'eve-teasing'.

The attacks in Bangalore are a continuation of those that took place in Mangalore and coastal Karnataka regions - even though the identity of the attackers (and the organizations they belong to) could have differed. Women across class barriers - from paurakarmikas (civic workers) to garment factory workers to students and young professionals in the corporate sector - have today become vulnerable targets on the streets of Karnataka.

It is the core responsibility of the state and city/state police to ensure that public spaces are kept safe for all.

Unfortunately there seems to be a partial/total collapse of the law enforcement machinery in the Karnataka state leading to anarchy when it comes to ensuring safety of women in Mangalore City, Bangalore City and in certain parts of Mangalore district.

It unfortunately and incontrovertibly seems like the Karnataka police which should have been answerable/accountable to the law and constitution of India is answerable/accountable only to the ruling netas / politicians and their countless / innumerable political affiliates.

There's an urgent need for the Hon'ble Supreme Court, which may please ensure and enforce the total compliance of the police reforms not only in Karnataka State but also in each and every state of India.

Saturday, February 28, 2009
Details of the attacks


Attack # 1
Time, Date of Attack: 13:10 to 13:40 | 17.02.2009

My name is Geetanjali. At 13:00 I get into my car start driving home. Almost immediately I notice a motorbike with 2 men chasing horning, hooting, and over-taking my car in a dangerous manner.

I turn onto 100ft road. The bikers follow me, then while over-taking the driver shouts at me and spits onto the window of my car. I make an angry gesture at this unprovoked action. The bikers then block my car from the front and ride very slowly. Cars behind us are now honking loudly.

I arrive at the 100ft Rd and 12th Main junction. I intend to take a right and have my right indicator on. The bikers also take the right turn and then stop their vehicle in such a way as to obstruct my passage.

The driver of the bike proceeds to get off his bike and starts attacking my car. For the next 5-6 minutes he then proceeds to beat on the car and shout obscenities in Kannada. I do not retaliate in anyway. No-one tries to help!

The pillion biker looks shocked at his friends actions and begins to roll the bike to the left side of the road. I seize the chance, and try to drive away. While doing so, the front bumper of my car grazes the bumper of the bike. This infuriates the attacker further.

He gets onto his bike and chases me. I realize that I don't know where the police station is in this locality, and decide to seek refuge in my friends house. With the attacker following me closely, I drive straight into the basement parking area of an apartment in Indiranagar.

The attacker parks his bike outside and pursues me into the building. I get out of my car in an attempt to flee, but he corners me against my car and proceeds to shout obscenities while constantly stepping closer and closer to me. This goes on for about 5-10 minutes. I do not retaliate verbally except to shout for help from the security guard.

By now he is less than a foot away from me. I cannot move back as my car is behind me. I slap him on his right cheek. He lunges at me and tries to punch my face, I manage to evade him, however he succeeds in punching my jaw.

At this action of his, I start to shout at him loudly in Kannada about his shamelessness at raising his hand on a woman. He is startled and steps back. The security guard now steps in and tries to push him out of the building. I use this opportunity to run towards the staircase.

I have just managed to climb 4 steps up when I realize that the attacker has run outside to the road and has started to come running back in with a large stone in his hand. He is continuously shouting and swearing.

I run upstairs and find the resident of the 1st floor apartment rushing out of her house. I caution her about going downstairs. The attacker is still shouting. I hear a crashing sound as he throws the stone at my car.

From the 1st floor apartment window, I can see that the attacker is waiting outside the gate of the building. I ask the owner of the apartment to call the police, but she refuses to do so. I then ask her to call the guard via the intercom and ask him to take down the license plate number of the attackers motorbike. By the time the guard picks up the phone, the attacker rides away.

Post-mortem
On questioning the guard, he said that the attacker took down the license plate number of my car and threatened to find and harm/kill me later. None of the neighbors who were watching helped or took down the license plate number of the attackers vehicle!

I have never felt like leaving my country for good. Yesterday I felt that. For that day I was homeless and orphaned and helpless in a way like never before. The residual feeling today is one of deep sadness at the frailty of humanity. The end of innocence for having stared at the nobility of the human spirit caving into the heart of darkness.

I am tired.

Attack # 2


Time, date of Attack: 11:15-11:30

My name is Jasmine. I am a Bangalorean. At least I think I am. I fell in love with this city two years ago and shifted base from Mumbai. I was on my way to work at Koramangala at around 11.15-11.30 in the morning when my auto broke down at Ulsoor. As I was hailing another one a white Quallis slowed down next to me and the occupants said something to me in Kannada. I rolled my eyes. That was their provocation.

I do not know if that angered them but the more I dwell on that unforgettable episode in my life, they seemed like predators, on the hunt. Before I knew it four middle-aged men emerged out of the vehicle and began verbally assaulting me.

First they started hurling obscenities at me in Kannada and then it became physical. They started touching and pulling at my clothes. One of them tugged so brutally at the shrug I was wearing that he scratched my neck. Their goal - to show the collected crowd the top that I was wearing underneath my shrug.

When the shrug didn't come off with their tugging, the violence of the tugging increased. In self defence I hit out at an offending hand that was trying to disrobe me. The response, he slapped me hard across my ear. Then they began trying to lift my top up while making references to 'pink chaddi' - the only words I could understand of their tirade.

I told them I would call the police and one of them arrogantly proffered me his phone to make the call. The few people who dared to gather and watch were dumbfounded and no one said a thing. Some passing cars even slowed down, but not one stopped to help.

The whole time, the four of them kept up the tireless rant of obscenities, calling me names and trying to humiliate me in front of the gathered crowd. They couldn't bear that a woman was looking them in the eye, and each time I raised my head to look at the tormentors, they kept pushing my head down, threatening me not to look at them in the face. While they were hitting my head, an army vehicle drove past. They stopped and intervened. Finally the army men helped me into a rickshaw to continue on what I thought was going to be a regular day at work.

It looked like these guys just wanted to make a spectacle and humiliate someone that day. And I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I don't want to imagine what would have happened to me if the army men hadn't put an end to the humiliation. I do not want to talk to the cops as even with hardcore evidence, the police didn't do anything about the Mangalore episode and those hooligans are out. I do not want to talk to the press and be anyone's political scapegoat. The whole situation was a nightmare and every time I talk about it, I relive it.

Attack # 3
Time, date of Time: 9:00 p.m, 24th Feb

My name is Lakshmi. I was attacked on 24th Feb at around 9:00 pm. I was walking down Vasanthnagar after I'd wrapped up work looking for an auto. At the underbridge I noticed four men walking down the road towards me. I crossed over to the other side, just in case. I continued to walk down towards Kodava Samaj. Suddenly I realised that the four men had crossed the road as well. Once they were close enough they started pushing me and passing comments. I tried to ignore them, stepped around them and continued walking. They turned around and walked back towards me and started pushing me around. I finally lost my temper and turned and told them to leave me alone.

One of them came really close and started abusing me in Kannada and Hindi. At that point I pushed him away from me. The next thing I know I'm in the middle of a roadside brawl. The guy who spoke to me punched me and the other three started hitting me as well. I fought back and all of us were in a scuffle. All through the attack I was abused in Hindi and Kannada for wearing jeans and fighting back. After what seemed like an eternity I heard an auto go by and I shouted out to him. Luckily for me he stopped. For a split second the four men were taken aback and let go off me I pushed them and ran across the road, climbed into the auto and begged him to take me home. The four men followed me to the auto and tried to drag me out. At that point the auto guy started the auto and rode away. The whole attack must have happened in a span of about 5 or 6 minutes.

Attack #4
28 February 2009, 10.30 pm

Sanjana:
I was attacked at the junction of Vasanthnagar 8th main and Palace Road junction. 10.30 in the night. Two men on a bike, slowed down, socked me on my jaw and fled away. they lost control of the bike as I lunged at the t shirt of the man sitting behind - still not enough time to get a look at the number plate. Have already filed the complaint with the High Grounds Police Station - there was a battalion of my friends who were with me till 1 am.

Attack #5

SF
I was attacked on Tuesday, 17/2/2009 at 4:45 PM in Sanjaynagar, Bangalore. I was walking home from work and stopped by the roadside to give biscuits to one dog and one puppy that I have been looking after for some time as I love animals and have a very special place for street dogs in my heart. On the afternoon of 17/2/2009 I was kneeling to open a package of biscuits when I heard a car coming down this small street at very high speed. The car was going so fast that it scared the dog and he let out one or two barks. The driver of the vehicle swerved as he came near where the dog and I were and tried to hit the dog with his vehicle. The dog became very terrified and ran down the street with the vehicle in pursuit, seemingly attempting to hit the dog as the first attempt had failed. I was horrified and afraid for the dog so I jumped up and ran into the street and yelled after the driver to slow down and stop what he was doing. Upon hearing me, the driver slammed on his brakes throwing dirt and debris all over. He then put his car in reverse and deliberately struck me with his vehicle, driving me into a motorcycle that was parked at the side of the street and knocking both me and it down to the ground. I was not seriously injured so I jumped up and ran to the driver's window and yelled at the criminal again through his open car window. I noticed that there was a passenger in the passenger seat but did not notice if anyone was in the back seat of the vehicle as the driver again hit the gas and sped down the street and turned left to make his escape. The license plate number and make and model of the offender's vehicle is KA 01 MA 8218, a Maroon Hundai Accent.

The police have been completely unwilling to take this attack seriously, shuffling me around to three different police stations and constantly discouraging me from filing a report. Their inaction is reprehensible and they should be called to account. I deserve better and the women of Bangalore deserve better as well.

This attack has left me feeling disgusted with the police and angry at the attacker. However I am not going to let this stop me from doing what I normally do, I still stop at the site of the attack each and every day to visit my dogs but it had tarnished my image of India. As a foreigner living in Bangalore for the past two years I have had mainly good experiences but I am afraid that this particular one may tarnish the memory of all of those past. I hope that the government and the police take the appropriate action but it won't happen without the strong, steady and deafening voice of the people.

Implement Supreme Court directives on Police reforms

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This petition's been addressed to the Hon'ble Supreme Court, President, PM, Ministry of Home Affairs or MHA, National Investigation Agency or NIA, National Commission for Women or NCW, National Human Rights Commission or NHRC, State Human Rights Commission or SHRC & Chief Secretary or CS.
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