Women’s rights activists condemn assault on Mangalore girls

January 25th, 2009 - 8:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) Women’s rights activists Sunday condemned the attack on girls in a pub in Karnataka’s coastal city of Mangalore by a self-styled moral brigade called Sri Rama Sene.Several women’s rights organisations expressed their anger at the assault, saying it was violation of freedom.

“Nobody has right to assault anyone and there can be no justification for this. Due action should be taken against them,” Meenakshi Lekhi of the National Commission for Women (NCW) told IANS.

“Indian culture gives equal status to men and women. They need to read more on Indian culture,” she added.

At least two girls were punched and their hair pulled by the activists 4 p.m. Saturday at the pub Amnesia - The Lounge in Mangalore, about 350 km from the Karanataka capital Bangalore. Ten of the activists have been arrested.

Leaders of Sri Rama Sene and the Bajrang Dal, another pro-Hindu organisation, have claimed the “credit” for the attack on the girls in the name of “punishing” those going against “traditional Indian norms”.

Annie Raja, general secretary of the National Federation of Indian Women, also criticised the attack by “these anti-social elements”.

“This is a violation of individual freedom. Who are they to stop girls on the grounds of culture? Nobody has a right to behave as cultural police. It should be taken seriously and culprits should be punished seriously,” she said.

Describing this act as “obnoxious”, Supreme Court advocate Kamini Jaiswal said: “Every human being has a right to live his/her life in the way he or she wants. Serious action against these mad people should be taken, otherwise we will return to 16th century when women had no rights at all. A woman is free to go to pub or to office or wherever she wants to.”

Condemning the attack, Congress spokesperson Veerappa Moily said: “These self-styled moralists are taking law into their hands and doing whatever they want”.

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