Police reaction to attacks on Bangalore women disappointing: group

March 3rd, 2009 - 6:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, March 3 (IANS) Bangalore police have brushed aside concerns over attacks on women on the streets of India’s IT capital as “sporadic” and mere “eve-teasing”, says a group formed to protest such crimes.
Disappointed with Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari’s reaction to the attacks here - at least five in the past fortnight - the members of Fearless Karnataka/Nirbhaya Karnataka (FKNK) say they will press ahead with plans March 7 and 8 to protest these attacks and raise awareness among the police and citizens.

Its members Monday went to the commissioner’s office to submit a memorandum, demanding safety and security of women in Bangalore. A few group members, including Sanjana, a journalist working with Tehelka magazine who was attacked by hooligans Saturday night, also had an interaction with Bidari.

The commissioner, according to the members, brushed the attacks on women aside as “sporadic” and mere incidents of “eve-teasing” and said Bangalore has no law and order problem. “Eve-teasing” is an Indian term denoting mild sexual harassment of women on the streets.

“Karnataka is a safe state and Bangaloreans are too cultured and sensitive to carry out such deplorable acts. These are sporadic incidents and simple cases of eve-teasing,” Bidari was quoted as saying by FKNK members.

“We’re extremely unhappy and disappointed with the reaction we’ve received from police. If an FIR (First Information Report) has not been lodged, it does not mean that crimes were not committed against women,” Jagdeesh B.N., a founder member of FKNK and a member of NGO Alternative Law Forum, told IANS.

“Violence against women by hooligans in Bangalore is a reality, and police and government have to first admit the fact and take necessary action to nab the culprits.”

“The police and administration are always in denial mode about reality. Perhaps that is why women who come under such attacks don’t feel the urge to go and file formal complaints against molesters,” lamented Jagdeesh.

Within a fortnight, five cases of attacks on women have been reported from different areas of the city. All the cases follow a pattern as motorcycle borne attackers target women by physically and verbally abusing them for wearing Western outfits.

However, no arrests have been made in any of the cases by police. “Police are yet to nab the culprits,” informed Jagadeesh.

According to police, an FIR has been lodged only in three cases and victims are yet to provide the exact description of molesters and information about the number plates of the motorcycles used by attackers.

But the group is not deterred.

As per schedule, FKNK Saturday will march to the office of Director-General of Police Ajai Kumar Singh and submit their grievances.

On March 8, which also coincides with International Woman’s Day, the members of the group along with the rest of the citizens will walk across various prominent roads of the city. Christened “Take Back the Night Walk” will be an attempt by women to reclaim their right to be safe at night across the state.

“Hopefully, we will be able to pass across our messages to the authority during our awareness drives March 7 and March 8,” said Jagadeesh.

The group, a conglomeration of several social organisations formed recently, already has 100 registered members. Moreover, a cross-section of Bangalore has expressed its support for the initiative by FKNK.

Black Noise, a group working against sexual harassment of women on Bangalore streets; Maraa, an NGO working on social issues by building public opinions; and Karnataka Women’s Forum, a women’s group, has also joined in the movement initiated by FKNK to make Bangalore a woman-friendly city.

“We’re happy to get huge support from Bangalore’s people. We’re hopeful to have a huge public gathering both March 7 and March 8,” smiled Jagadeesh.

Shakun Mohini, a member of Vimochana, a women rights group and part of FKNK, said, “We’re going to continue with our non-violent and democratic means of protests till we get justice. Nothing can deter our determination to make Bangalore safe for the woman population.”

-Indo-Asian News Service


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