The coast isn’t clear- Clash of Cultures #Mangalore #Moralpolicing #VAW


 

VU George, 61, remembers the precise day he arrived in Mangalore from Kochi as a nervous teenager: June 6, 1970. “It was raining heavily,” says the publisher and editor of Mangalore Today, a 17-year-old local monthly magazine. His elder brother, an engineer working in Mangalore, didn’t turn up at the station as he’d promised.

The platform cleared out and George, who knew only Malayalam and some broken English, stood there alone. A woman in her mid-40s approached him and asked him where he wanted to go. He showed her a piece of paper with his brother’s address. Even though it was out of the way, she dropped him off. “I decided to stay in Mangalore forever,” says George. “It was like heaven.”

He emphasises the word ‘was’.

For years, Mangalore has enjoyed the reputation of being an idyllic student town, with a history of religious tolerance and a balance of Indian and European influences, the latter remnants of Portuguese colonisation between 1526 and 1640. An educational hub known for its engineering and medical institutions, it has a literacy rate of 94.03%, according to the 2011 census. The city’s colleges and IT companies, such as Infosys, attract youngsters from all over the country.

“Eight years ago, boys and girls could be seen sitting together in and around parked cars on New Year’s Eve till 3 am,” says Joy Lasrado, 27, a management graduate. “No one bothered us.” The city shuts down by 9 pm, but its thriving though small nightlife — mostly pubs playing rock and electronic music — goes on till midnight.

Over the past five years, roughly coinciding with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coming to power in Karnataka, this atmosphere has rapidly changed, say locals.

In 2009, activists of Sri Ram Sene, a right-wing Hindu group, attacked women in a pub. A week ago, activists claiming to represent a similar organisation, the Hindu Jagarana Vedike, attacked youngsters partying at a resort just outside the city.

This incident has inflamed the city, revealing a growing tension between right-wing Hindu groups and a multicultural Westernised youth. Pressured by public outrage, on Sunday, a day after the incident, the police filed an FIR against 28 people, including Naveen Soorinje, the journalist who shot the horrifying video, and have so far made 23 arrests. On Monday, the All College Students Union of Mangalore University called for a college bandh, protesting against the incident. On Wednesday, C Manjula, chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for Women, blamed the police for inaction against illegal homestays running without proper licences, such as the one in which the incident took place. She also suggested that women obtain police permission before attending such parties.

The Vedike denies it planned the attack, but admits that some of its members were involved. “On the pretext of parties, girls are lured to homestays, where illegal activities take place,” says Satyajit Surathkal, convenor of Vedike in the south. “Eight boys and five girls, all between the ages of 18 and 22, partied with alcohol in a bungalow with three bedrooms. What do you think is going to happen? Do I need to spell it out?”

The police say they found no drugs on the premises and that all the youngsters were of the state’s legal drinking age, 18. Two of the victims, Gurudath Kamath, a 24-year-old event organiser, and Vijay Kumar, a 23-year-old DJ, have come forward and spoken about their ordeal, but the young women are unwilling to file any FI Rs.

They did not answer their mobile phones when HT called them. “We have been trying to get them to speak about the incident openly, but they’re too scared,” says Kamath. “We were doing nothing wrong or illegal. If they register complaints, we will have a stronger case.”

Clash of cultures
Since the BJP came into power in the state in 2008, Hindutva activists have been stirring up trouble in many ways, says Mangalore Today’s George.

“Mangalore is a hardcore RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) place,” he says. “Not a leaf flies in this town without its knowledge.”

Besides the attacks on youngsters, some celebrate the anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition, December 6, as Vijayotsava, on Car Street in the heart of the city by making inflammatory speeches, and the police don’t do anything, he says. “They impose a section 144 order (prohibiting public gatherings) across the city. Are these programmes not a violation of this?” he asks.

Subhas Chandra, assistant commissioner of police, denies that such events take place. “We clamp down on pujas and other events being held on December 6,” he said.

Students at St Agnes, a reputable girls’ college, say they are regularly stared at and even threatened by Hindutva activists, who regularly warn them against hanging out with boys of other faiths.

TR Jagannath, assistant commissioner of police, Mangalore (south), says extremist elements from both Hindu and Muslim communities cause problems. “This period, between Ramzan and Dussehra, tends to be very volatile,” he says.

But there appears to be a growing mistrust of the police. On Monday, when the students of St Agnes attempted to protest against Saturday’s incident, the police took videos of the girls who were protesting, said several students, who wished to remain anonymous. “A senior police official threatened to present the video in court as evidence of us flouting a curfew ,” said one student. Asked Sister Prem D’Souza, principal of St Agnes College: “Are we supposed to ask the police for protection or are we supposed to fear them?”

The police deny the students’ allegations. “The videos were being taken by the media,” said Subhas Chandra, assistant commissioner of police. “We were merely telling the students to stay within the college premises and to not come out, because we had imposed a curfew. They were within their rights to protest within the premises, not outside.”

The police had imposed a curfew in certain parts of the city on Sunday, which they lifted only on Thursday evening.

For their part, Mangalore’s youngsters are fed up with rising moral policing. After the latest incident, the youth, particularly the women, say they feel uneasy about having a social life. “I was supposed to go for a friend’s farewell party this week, but we’ve cancelled it,” says Liane Noronha, a 21-year-old college student.

Sister D’Souza says that, over the past week, she has been receiving several calls from worried parents when their daughters don’t return home within an hour of classes ending.

“It used to be a lovely place for young people,” says George. “I will continue to stay here, but I don’t blame today’s youth for wanting to leave.”

 

Main culprit behind Mangalore homestay attack held #moralpolicing #VAW


 

By PTI – BANGALORE

04th August 2012 08:04 PM

The main culprit behind the Mangalore homestay attack has been arrested and booked under the Goonda act, Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka said today.

Subhash Padeel has been booked under the stringent Act, Ashoka, who holds the Home and Transport portfolio, told reporters on the sidelines of a function.

So far 23 persons, including Padeel (who is the city coordinator of Hindu Jagarana Vedike), have been arrested in connection with the July 28 incident, he said.

Thirteen students, including five girls, celebrating the birthday of one of them at a homestay on the outskirts of Mangalore were targetted by alleged activists of “Hindu Jagarana Vedike” who accused them of indulging in “immoral activities”.

Television footage also showed them misbehaving with and assaulting some girls, with the episode evoking public outrage.

Ashoka also said select police officials and personnel are proposed to be trained by the Border Security Force to deal with threats from naxal and terrorism front.

 

Creative writers speak up against #moralpolicing in Mangalore #VAW


 

‘There is no governance in State’

Hindu, deccan herald, TOI

 
Vaidehi, writer, speaking at a protest meeting in Udupi on Tuesday.
The HinduVaidehi, writer, speaking at a protest meeting in Udupi on Tuesday.

Vaidehi, writer, said on Tuesday that the attack on the partying youth at a homestay in Mangalore last week had shown that there was neither government nor governance in the State. She was speaking at a public meeting organised by the Karnataka Komu Sauharda Vedike (KKSV) and Catholic Sthree Sanghtan (CSS) to protest against the attack, here.

Ms. Vaidehi said that it was not necessary for any vigilante group to teach Hindu culture to others. Many miscreants were forming vigilante groups for protecting Hindu culture. But they were bringing disrepute to the Hindu culture by violent and illegal acts. “It is necessary to fight such forces in a united manner,” she said.“It is not our culture to dishonour women,” she said and regretted that government is silent over the act of Hindu Jagarana Vedike activists who took law into their hands.

Stating that the Home Ministry has failed to initiate measures against the offenders, she said that there are already increasing number of female infanticide cases in the society and these incidents may compel women to take decision against giving birth to girl child.

The repeated attacks on women raised doubts about the existence of a government in the State. “What is the government doing? Where is the Home Minister? Where are the MLAs? Where are the police?” Ms. Vaidehi questioned.

Writer Sukanya Kalasa said that the activists of the vigilante group which had beaten the students at the homestay had stated that the girls were not wearing traditional outfits.

“But all the men who attacked them were wearing trousers and shirts. They should have worn the traditional ‘mundu’. They are dictating dress code to others, but not following it themselves,” she said.

DRESS CODE

It was not possible for parents to impose dress code on children. The outfits worn by people kept changing with changing times. “What happened to the students at the homestay might happen to our own children. This cannot be allowed,” Ms. Kalasa said. Sharada Bhat, writer, said that the homestay incident in Mangalore had raised doubts in the minds of people as to whether they were living in a democracy or were under the rule of Taliban.

President of district unit of Mahila Congress Veronica Carnelio said that the inaction of the State Government in punishing the perpetrators of the pub attack in Mangalore in 2009 had emboldened the activists of other vigilante groups.

Though the Regional Commissioner of Mysore Division M.V. Jayanti had submitted a report to the Government over a month back on the “rave party” which took place at the St. Mary’s Island (in February), the Government had still not made it’s findings public, Ms. Carnelio said.

KKSV president G. Rajashekhar, honorary president Gopal B. Shetty, Dalit Sangharsha Samiti leader Jayan Malpe, CSS leader Reena Roche, and Jamaat-E-Islami Hind leader Idris Hoode were present.

 

Writer Sharada Bhat alleged that law and order mechanism in the state is collapsed. It is a kind of despotic rule by the government that reminds the governance of Taliban.

Democracy is losing its roots and the incident of home stay attack is an act of brutality. She said that women should raise their voice against the havoc and demanded police to immediately arrest all the activists who were involved.

Udupi district Komu Souharda Vedike member Phaneeraj said that the incident of law and order anarchy is not a new phenomenon in the region. The activists of Hindu organisations are involved in creating chaos since 2001 in the area. It seems as though these people are assigned to take law and order into their hands. He said it is astonishing that police were the mute spectators’ when the incident was going on. They failed to take immediate actions when the girls and boys present in the birthday bash were thrashed by the activists, he said.

Phaneeraj questioned the relevance of the charges of IPC Sections filed against TV scribes by the police department.

Forwarding the memorandum to Governor through Tahsildar, Udupi district Komu Souharda Vedike President G Rajashekar strongly condemned the attack. He said as the resort was a private entity, it is not criminal offense to organise birthday parties or any other sort of parties. After all it is not Hindu Jagarana Vedike activists who should take action against the illegal activities taking place in the homestay, when police are available to look into it.

The footages that appeared in TV channels are the evidence and government should intervene and should take immediate action against the attackers and also the masterminds behind the attack, he added.

Writer Sara Abubakar wondered that when the high court has said that women can work in pubs, what is wrong in women partying in a private place. “These attackers respect neither our Constitution nor our women. No one has the right to assault a woman. Who are these goons to decide what kind of dresses should girls wear,” she fumed.Terming Saturday’s incident as a criminal conspiracy, she said when the visual media was in the know, why didn’t they inform police.

“Capturing these kind of incidents has become entertainment for TV channels,” After the pub attack, the accused were released on bail within a few days.

 

 

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