The “mass molestation” of women gathered to celebrate the arrival of New Year in Bengaluru on the intervening night of December 31 and January 01 is not something that has happened in the state for the first time. Fueled by a pervading thought process that sees women enjoying independence as an attack on Indian culture, the state has become a haven for moral police. This thought process was very well reflected when the state’s Home Minister G Parameshwara remarked that “western ways” of youngsters were the reason behind the mass molestation incident.
Parameshwara dubbed the incident as something that “do happen on New Year Day”. He might actually have been right in his shameless assertion as moral policing in Karnataka has become a routine affair in the state over the years.
Last year, the Karnataka government even planned to introduce a cultural policy to rein in moral policing and intolerance. Baraguru Ramachandrappa, who headed a committee to draft the policy, had told Times of India that the government should make its stand clear before starting a fight against moral policing and exploitative superstitions practised by people. However, there seems to be no effect of the government’s proposed intentions against moral policing.
Not just in Bengaluru, moral policing incidents are regularly reported from different parts of the state. Indian Express reported last year, “Radical groups in Mangalore, cutting across religious lines, have in the last two decades or so established a competitive culture of conservativeness in the hearts and minds of people.”
Here we take a look at five incidents that prove Karnataka has become a safe haven for rowdy moral police and the state doesn’t do anything to curb this menace.
1. Mass molestation of women on New Year, 2017
A huge mob molested women with impunity even as 1500 policemen deployed in the area looked on as the horror scenes unfolded. This happened even as elaborate security arrangements were made at Bengaluru’s MG Road and Brigade Road, where people gathered to celebrate the arrival of the New Year. Men gathered in the area in large numbers first created a ruckus and then started molesting women. Male friends and family members of the women to tried to deal with molesters but they were outnumbered and thrashed.
2. Mangalore pub attack by Sri Ram Sene in January 2009
A group of Sri Ram Sene activists barged into a pub on Balmatta road in the heart of Mangalore city and thrashed weekend revellers, including girls, accusing them of behaving in an obscene manner.
3. Mob attack on Tanzanian woman student in February 2016
A Tanzanian woman student was beaten up and stripped by a mob in a case of “mistaken identity” after a woman was mowed down by a car, PTI reported. The 21-year-old Tanzanian woman, who was doing BBM course, was dragged out of the car, in which she was travelling along with three other friends after it reached the accident spot. The state police later claimed the woman student was not stripped.
4. Mob attack on youngsters at a homestay in July 2012
In an act of moral policing, suspected activists of Hindu Jagarane Vedike attacked young men and women at a homestay in July 2012. The attackers claimed the youth were doing a rave party and indulging in illegal activities.
5. Man attacked for dropping woman employee safely home in Mangalore October 2014
Six activists of notorious Hindu outfit Bajrang Dal assaulted a shop owner, Zabeullah, in Mangalore for dropping his female employee safely home. The attackers accused Zabeullah of “Love Jihad”.