Seven more held for assaulting women in Mangalore, hunt on for leaders

January 26th, 2009 - 5:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyBangalore, Jan 26 (IANS) Seven more people have been arrested and hunt is on for at least four more for Saturday’s vicious attack on women in a pub in the Karnataka coastal city of Mangalore by activists of Sri Rama Sene (army of god Rama), police said. Ten people were arrested Sunday.The arrested include Sene’s Dakshina Kannada district convenor Subash Padil.

“We are searching for him,” Managalore north police inspector Umesh Shet told IANS on phone when asked whether Dinakar Shetty, Sene state coordinator, has been arrested as he had stated that Sene activists were the attackers.

Besides Shetty, the search was on for three more people, he said.

The arrested have been charged with outraging the modesty of women, rioting, assault and unlawful assembly.

There are two teenagers among the arrested, one 18 years and another 19 years.

In his first comments on the issue, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa said his government “will not tolerate people taking law into their hands”.

“Strict action will be taken against those involved in the incident. Police have already taken some people into custody. Police have been given a free hand and directed not to spare anybody,” he told reporters in Bangalore.

Home Minister V.S. Acharya, who belongs to Udupi district neighbouring Dakshina Kannada of which Mangalore is the headquarters, denied activists of the ruling party and its associate organisations were involved in the attack.

About 40 people barged into the pub, Amnesia - The Lounge, on the busy Balmatta Road in the heart of Mangalore Saturday evening and bashed up a group of young women and men claiming the women were “violating traditional Indian values”.

At least two girls were punched and their hair pulled by the self-styled moral brigade. From the accounts given by the eyewitnesses, who did not want to be identified, the girls were the target of the attack.

“Their action is not acceptable. If they (the attackers) felt unlawful activities were on in the hotel, they should have informed us,” Shet said.

Saturday’s incident had impacted the business at the pub but not in a major way, a manager at the pub said, requesting he be not named.

People in Mangalore said on phone that it was business as usual for the pubs in the busy commercial centre on the west coast, about 350 kms from Bangalore.

Sri Rama Sene activists taking law into their hands has come in for severe criticism from leading women activists in Karnataka.

Philomena Peris, a native of Mangalore, and Pramila Nesargi, a senior leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) told IANS that the attack was outrageous and nobody should assault women.

Both are former chairpersons of the Karnataka State Women’s Commission.

The main opposition Congress party accused the BJP government of encouraging such attacks in the name of preserving Indian culture.

“The ruling party is responsible. It is encouraging such elements,” Mallikharjun Kharge, leader of the opposition in state assembly and former Kanataka Pradesh Congress Committee president, told reporters in his hometown Gulbarga in northern Karnataka Monday.

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