Mangalore's Hour of Shame : Rape and Loot - Is This Our 'Culture'?
Mangalore, Jul 30: Saturday July 28 indeed was a black day for Mangalore, as once again, the so-called 'moral police', without an iota of morals in themselves, treated women, the weaker section of the society like animals.
Certain truths revealed by the victims of the Morning Mist Home Stay incident and their friends cast a big question on the purpose of the attack.
"The attack was not in the name of 'protection of Indian culture', the purpose was loot and rape," said a close friend of a victim talking to daijiworld. Her voice was full of pain, she was sobbing and could hardly talk, but was brave enough to disclose the truth.
Images captured from video footage provided by a third party to Daijiworld
"One of the attackers touched my friend's body like a hungry dog, treating her like some object of play. I cannot explain...please understand what his real purpose was," she breaks down, unable to find words to describe her friend's trauma.
"I swear that it was not a rave party. We are not that kind of people. My friend had taken her parents' permission. Is this the way to treat people?"
"I will never attend any party in Mangalore...I do not want to go through what my friend experienced," she says.
When asked why her friend had not approched the police, she said, "We have explained the entire incident to them. My friend initially wanted to file a complaint of attempt to rape against the men, but that itself is another trauma which she is not willing to go through. She will have to run from pillar to post for several years to get justice, explain to each and everyone where they touched her, what they did etc...her name will be splashed across the media...the mental torture is just too much to handle, and even after all that, there's no guarantee that her tormentors will be punished. She just wants to put this incident behind her and move on."
Venu (name changed), one of the boys who was in the party accused the attackers of stealing a purse with cash, two gold chains, and a ring. "We started the party at 2.30 pm, and were planning to close at six as the girls had to leave early. Just as we were preparing to leave the place, a gang of around 40-50 confronted us. When we realised their intention, we tried to escape, but they blocked us from all sides...they treated us like animals," he said.
Another boy, Vivek (name changed) says, "We are all above 18 years, adults who know our limits. We were celebrating our friend's birthday, and did not violate any rules or norms. There were no loud speakers, but only a stereo which we hardly used. It is hard believe we are living in a free country."
"My advise to all party lovers is do not celebrate here. Mangalore is not a place to celebrate, go somewhere else if you really want to enjoy life, which is allowed under the rules of this country," he said.
"So far I had only heard about the Taliban, but now I came to know how Taliban behave, and what they really are."
"They not only beat me, but took away my mobile worth Rs 20,000, which my uncle had gifted me on graduating with good marks," he said.
There were 13 youngsters in all, including five girls. Some of them had just finished their graduation and others pursuing graduation in city's colleges.
Several organizations and intellectuals have condemned the inhuman attack on the boys and girls. Though everyone does not endorse the idea of youngsters partying at a resort, beating them black and blue has attracted intense outrage from people across the country.
Reliable sources told daijiworld that one of the girls is a daughter of a high-ranked Lokayukta police officer in Mangalore.
Image of Mangalore
In 2008 Mangalore's image received a heavy blow when miscreants threw stones at places of Christian worship, soon after on January 24, 2009 the pub attack created much hue and cry across the country. That too was an attack on young girls by fundamentalists opposing pub culture.
It took at least 2-3 years to come out from that trauma, rather, to rebuild back Mangalore's image.
But this incident has surely done irreparable damage to Mangalore once again.
"We wanted to spend a week in Mangalore. I heard Mangalore was peaceful and a wonderful place to stay. Today I changed my plans, and now we are going to Goa," a friend of mine, a native of Delhi and who is in Dubai, told me on phone last night. He had planned to spend a week here visiting famous temples, staying in a resort along with his wife and two teenage daughters.
This may be a small example, but several people are already having second thoughts about holidaying in Mangalore, or will do so in the future.
"Is investing in Mangalore still worth?" read an SMS I got from Abu Dhabi on the night of the incident, from a fellow Mangalorean friend who is investing lots in Mangalore real estate.
Can NGOs and women organization think differently from now on ?
Whenever there is an attack on women, the first thing we see is all the women-related organizations in the nation come on TV and start giving lectures, sit with discussion panels and condemn. After a few days, they forget everything.
Did these organizations really fight for the victims of 2009 pub attack? Did they get justice? If yes, then why the attack on women over and over again?
A girl is crying out 'attempt to rape', and in today's world she finds no way to address the issue. She cannot complain to the police because she cannot explain what these attackers did. She cannot go to the court, because she cannot wait for years to get justice. She is young, with her whole life in front of her, and for this reason, she cannot afford to lose her image, time, patience, and most of all, her dignity.
Women organizations must come together and think how justice can be done to girls who suffer the trauma of attempts to rape every day. Without disclosing their identity, can these girls get justice? Only women organizations can do this, if they think seriously and think differently.
Hope Mangalore does not suffer such incidents again. May Mangalore shine once more.
The city's administration is hurt too. This is not the time to blame them, instead we need to extend our support.
Seemanth Kumar Singh, an upright police officer should prove this time what Mangalore police are, and who 'Moral police' are.
Let us keep our faith in him, in this moment of crisis.
Hall of 'Shame':