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'Moralists' molest women

Mangalore, July 28, 2012, DHNS:

Day of shame: TV channels in tow, marauders go berserk

Victims being escorted by police in Mangalore on  Saturday. DH Photo

A fortnight after a teenaged girl was molested in Guwahati by a gang in public, a bunch of men claiming to be members of Hindu Jagarana Vedike attacked students, five girls and eight boys, who were having a weekend party at a homestay in the city on Saturday night.

The attack on the students, who belong to colleges in and around the city, appeared planned by the outfit, as TV channels were tipped off. Crew of three TV channels, one of them a local cable network, were in place well before the members of the outfit launched their unprovoked attack, reminiscent of a similar attack on partying girls at a pub in the city three years ago, that earned the city much infamy.

None was aware of the impending attack on the homestay, ‘Morning Stay’, at Padil on Saturday. Residents in the vicinity of the homestay came to know of the incidents only when they watched the horrifying footage on TV.

The attackers accused the students of indulging in immoral activities and having a rave party. They slapped and molested the girls, pushing them around.

TV channels showed one of the attackers grabbing a girl from behind, fondling her and forcibly lifting her face for the benefit of TV cameras. They also stripped the boys. All along, the TV crew kept filming, instead of trying to rescue the students.

The police arrived at the spot about half an hour after the incident and took away the traumatised victims in a vehicle.

When the police reached the spot, a city corporator, Mohan Padil, was trying to defend the attacks, claiming that illegal activities were taking place in the homestay.

Mangalore City Police Commissioner Seemanth Kumar Singh, who visited the spot, dismissed the allegation of any illegal activity in the homestay. “It was not right on the part of the men to take the law into their hands and attack the girls. The media should have tried to protect the girls, instead of instigating the attackers. At least they should have informed the police,” said the Commissioner.

According to sources, the victims told police that they were having a birthday party, and not a rave party, as alleged by their attackers, when they were set upon. They also alleged that the attackers robbed them of their mobiles and wallets.
Police have picked up six persons including Mohan Padil and Hindu Jagarana Vedike Dakshina Kannada District unit president Subhash.

Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister R Ashoka said police have been instructed to arrest all those involved in the episode immediately. He told media persons that he was monitoring the situation. Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar has asked the minister to handle the case.


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