Activists in capital protest Mangalore pub incident

February 3rd, 2009 - 10:18 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanNew Delhi, Feb 3 (IANS) Demanding immediate re-arrest of the 28 accused in the Mangalore pub incident, who are out on bail, and a stop to all moral policing that mainly targets women, activists and students protested in front of the Karnataka Bhavan in the capital Tuesday.Holding banners that screamed slogans like “Stop Talibanisation of India” and “India has no room for fascist forces”, members of various NGOs like Nirantar, Jagori, Sama, Saheli, Amnesty International, Stree Adhikar and the Northeast Support Centre and students unanimously denounced the Jan 24 incident in the Mangalore pub, in which 40 members of the Sri Rama Sene bashed up several young women in the name of upholding Indian culture.

“The Mangalore incident is just an isolated case of a bigger mindset that believes that such kind of moral policing is permissible. No matter where you look, it’s mostly women in the focus of all such kinds of mindless violence,” Anushree Das, a student participating the protest, told IANS.

“Therefore, this protest is not just an agitation against the Mangalore incident but against moral policing itself. Who gives these so-called protectors of Indian culture the right to do what they do? And is beating up women a part of Indian culture?” she added.

Rituparna Borah of Nirantar, one of the NGOs organising the protest, went one step ahead and said: “These people have no right to go around beating people in the name of upholding Indian culture. They are just hypocrites who go around bad mouthing western influences but wear shirts and trousers when they should roam around in dhotis”.

In a memorandum that was circulated amongst all the protesters to sign and then submitted to the deputy resident commissioner at the Karnataka Bhavan, the activists demanded that the accused who have been let out on bail should be re-arrested and tried in a fast track court so that “any such attempts to violate the dignity of women is deterred in the future”.

“It’s also very disheartening that mechanisms like the National Commission for Women (NCW), who are meant to defend the rights of women, should defend the culprits,” said Ashima Jain, an activist.

NCW’s fact-finding team had said that the reason for the incident was that the women were wearing skimpy clothes and dancing. The lesson to learn, they said, was that women have to try safeguarding themselves.

Holding their banners high as some of the protesters danced to the tunes of the rest, hailing the spirit of women, some, however, said that the turnout of the people in the protest was a disappointment.

“It’s mostly us activists protesting against such incidents. Those whose rights we are fighting for hardly come and join these protests. Probably not many came to know about this protest in particular, but if we really want such incidents to stop, the common man and woman has to raise their voice as well,” said one of the activists.

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