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Kengeri gang rape exposes dark underbelly of City bars

Jagadish Angadi Bangalore: Oct 22, 2012 DH News Service 1:04 IST

The alleged rape of three bar girls inside a house at Jagajyothi Layout in Kengeri early Friday morning has turned the focus on the absence of vigil on pubs and those operating them.

The description of the suspects is similar to that of those involved in ‘guarding’ bar girls. So, police believe that rivalry between suppliers of bar girls may have led to the incident.

Police pointed out that the alleged rapists had stolen five cellphones, five rings, a gold chain and Rs 15,000 from the girls. They had also captured the entire act on their cellphones and had threatened to upload the video on the Internet if the girls reported the incident to anyone.

“Rapists rarely rob their victims and they usually don’t film the inhuman act. Hence, a rivalry between groups handling bar girls may have led to the incident,” the police said.

According to police, the house where the girls lived had turned into a brothel. “It is a three-storey building where the bar girls and a few men stay on different floors,” said the Bidadi police. The police said they were conducting a detailed investigation.

Many pubs in Gandhi Nagar operate as discotheques. They are also infamous as hubs for flesh trade. Although police occasionally raid the pubs, many of them resume business within a week.

“Different groups have different agendas as large amounts of money are involved. Some police officers are also involved in the business,” said sources in the department.

“The pub owners keep local police in good humour by fulfilling their demands. As per an understanding, raids are conducted once in a while. But, within a couple of days, the pubs are back in business.”

A police officer said there were several groups which supply bar girls from different cities in the country.

“Each girl gets between Rs 8,000 and 10,000 a month, in addition to accommodation, food and transportation. Often the girls are rotated among cities by the supplier groups,” he said.

The girls never know who controls them as they are told to collect their earnings and not bother about other issues. There is at least one group which is involved in the flesh trade using its bar girls.

According to sources, this group acts as a link between the girls’ suppliers and pub owners. They select girls carefully , convince them to take up work as bar girls and then push them into flesh trade. Poor economic status and strained family relationships are major factors driving girls into prostitution.
In an interview with Deccan Herald, the girls said they were never into this trade for riches.

“We curse our conditions which have forced us to make money this way. But our family members are dependent on us. Flesh trade is now a part of our existence, not only in Bangalore, but in other cities too. There is hardly any difference between those who raped us now and those who misused us in other cities. We do not blame anybody, but our fate,” one of them said.

The three rape victims were employed in a pub in Gandhi Nagar. Records show that the police have raided the pub only once in the last three months. After each raid, the pub resumed operations within 12 hours.

“Police records show that the owner and manager are at large. When the pressure builds up, the police arrest them. But they are out on bail within a few days. The tale of another pub next to Sagar theatre is no different,” a police officer said.

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