Where's the action?

Even a fortnight after a dastardly attack by the members of the so-called Hindu Jagarana Vedike on a group of boys and girls celebrating a birthday at a home stay in Mangalore, the BJP government in Karnataka appears to be playing politics with the incident rather than initiating stringent action against the culprits.

 The high court has also come down heavily on the thugs who barged into a private party, assaulting boys and molesting girls, allegedly because their conduct did not befit the ‘Indian culture.’ The police have made a few arrests, but the government is yet to invoke the Goonda Act against the culprits as promised by the state home minister in the Assembly.

Nobody knows why the State Women’s Commission has intervened in a criminal case which is best handled by the police. The commission chairperson, C Manjula, a BJP political appointee, has taken upon herself to conduct a parallel inquiry, issue some irresponsible statements and even submit a ‘report’ to the home minister, making wild observations and recommendations. While blaming the police for not taking preventive action, the commission pontificates on “saving the youth from forces that lead them astray,” accuses the boys attending the party of “taking the drugs,” absolutely without any evidence and suggests police inquiry against the owners of the home stay. The commission makes no mention of Hindu Jagarana Vedike, the vigilante outfit which launched the attack, completely exposing its bias and its political agenda to shift the blame away from the moral police brigade which has connections with the ruling party.

That farcical exercise aside, since the high court is monitoring the case, the local police will do well to pursue criminal investigation against the perpetrators of the crime and file charge sheets against them at the earliest. Considering that the ring leaders of the group led by Subhash Padil were also involved in similar such incidents in the past, especially the attack on a pub in Mangalore in 2009, the government should consider externing them from the district till the investigation is complete. Chief minister Jagadish Shettar has promised that his government is committed to uphold the rule of law and that the guilty would not be spared. The Mangalore incidents have drawn unsavoury nation-wide attention and the government’s action or inaction over the incident will be under the microscope.

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