Mangalore: Prominent Citizens Give Clarion Call to Rise Against Destructive Powers
Pics: Ramesh Pandith
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore
Mangalore, Aug 5: In a show of solidarity and inspiring confidence, prominent people of Mangalore representing various fields of the society gave a clarion call to the citizens of Mangalore to fight unitedly against a handful of hooligans who are trying to inflict fear in the minds of the people.
They were speaking at 'Arise Mangalore!', a programme organized at the Loyolla Hall of St Aloysius College on Sunday August 5 by the right thinking people of the city. 'Arise Mangalore!' was actually a call to awaken the people of Mangalore to demonstrate their strength of unity to fight to rescue Mangalore from the clutches of a few hooligans.
Nitte Vinaya Hegde (education) Narain Koduvattat (knowledge economy), Habeeb Rehman (health) Latha Kini (commerce and industry) Medha (student) and Walter D'Souza (Chairman of Federation of Indian Export Organization) were the speakers at the function Arise Mangalore.
It was Nitte Vinaya Hegde, President of Nitte Education Trust and Chancellor of Nitte University, the first speaker of the day who set the tone at a huge gathering comprising people of all sections of the society. Describing the incident as the most disgraceful he has witnessed in his life in his home town Mangalore he said “this attack on the home stay and on innocent youngsters has nothing to do with religion. If a society of six lakh people don’t possess the courage to tackle 25 to 30 goons that would be the saddest day for Mangalore. Such incidents are recurring frequently in Mangalore only because the perpetrators of such heinous crimes have been given political patronage and backing. The entire political system is manned and governed by people who are not properly educated”.
Commenting on the ‘so called intellectuals’ of Mangalore he said “it is matter of concern that only a handful of 25 to 30 people are holding the entire population of six lakhs of Mangalore to ransom. The issue of morality cannot be addressed by people whose character is doubtful”.
He called upon youngsters not to become a liability to the society and asked them to show their courage in tackling incidents like this. He added “unless you are going to rise and keep religion out of the issue the problem has no end”.
He insisted that the culprits should be put behind bars and should not be allowed to come out for 5 to 6 years because they have committed the crime of traumatizing the students and traumatizing the society. “If you don’t have the courage and concern I believe that with the passage of time we will become a backward country in the world." He called upon the people to take an oath to ensure that this kind of incident is not repeated again.
Latha Kini immediate past President of Canara Chamber of Commerce and Industry pointed out that she had never imagined Mangalore would be plagued by an incident like the one happened on July 28. “I don’t think we need moral police to teach and preach us. We have a rich legacy bequeathed to us by our ancestors who worked hard for it. We cannot throw away the labor of their years of hard work just for nothing”, she declared. Latha Kini also stated that the shameful incident of attack on youngsters should be like a wakeup call for Mangaloreans who should not go back to sleep once the issue gets relegated to the back burner with the passage of time.
Knowledge sector is emerging as the most happening sector in Mangalore and Narain Koduvattat of “High Point” representing the IT industry who spoke on the occasion felt that at the moment the incident cannot be treated as an ultimate disaster. He said that the culprits of the incidents should be put behind bars after booking them under the Goonda act and pressure should brought through rallies, memorandums and publicity to make the authorities sit up and take notice. Pointing out that strong local economy is needed for other sectors to flourish and bloom he stated “Mangalore has been the fertile ground for young guys to implement their ideas through small companies in the IT sector. If we let go such a conducive atmosphere it is going to be another opportunity lost”, Narain declared.
Citing the example of Coimbotore city, one of the fastest growing cities in the south, he pointed out that despite facing every possible problem the local community stood firm and united and requested business people to invest and set up their companies and today emerged as the most happening city in the south of India. Finally he said that if people of Mangalore work together with the Chamber of Commerce and industry, with NGO’s and the District administration nothing can stop Mangalore from emerging as a burgeoning city.
Dr C P Habeeb Rehman, Chairman of Unity Health Complex who described Mangalore described Mangalore as a beautiful and peaceful city says one of the problems faced by Mangaloreans is the emergence of violence as a means of solution, which he said has reached dangerous proportion. Saying that no civilized individual would carry out such barbaric and heinous crime like the one happened at the home stay in Padil he said freedom of choice is a prerogative of the individual.
He said politicians would go to any extent to attain and retain power Dr Habib said “Mangaloreans should once rise beyond the problems. Pointing out that politicians would go to attain and retain and attain power he said a political institution (to educate politicians) is the need of the hour to train politicians in the nitty-gritty of politics.
The student community at the function was represented by Medha Alexander, a student of KMC and her assertion that it is the duty of the parents and elders to take care of their children and not that of the moral police, invited loud cheers from the assembled gathering. She said when she saw the visuals on the screen she imagined herself to be in the position of the girl saying “yesterday it was them and tomorrow it could be any of us. “Even if I chat with my classmate or go for a cup of tea or lunch with them I might face a similar situation which is quite scary”. She said the main aim of the so called ‘moral force’ is to instill fear in the minds of students to achieve their wicked acts but the youngsters should not fall prey to their plotting.
Walter D'Souza, Chairman of Federation of Indian Export Organization felt that the main aim of this gathering should be to express concern and chalk out an action plan so that this incident is going to be the last one in the history of Mangalore. Describing the incident as PPP (patronage by powerful politicians) he called upon people to either nip in the bud and if not possible, to uproot the evil from the society completely. He suggested that submitting a memorandum to the Governor of Karnataka and also the Chief Justice of the High Court would help in seeking justice to the victims and suitable punishment for the hooligans. Giving an example of how America had dealt with the serious issue of drug addiction in the 70’s he said “when everyone was saying how to deal with the issue Robert Kennery said “why not” and with that attitude the country could surmount the serious problem of drugs. Mangalore needs this kind of people to fight the evil forces”.
He congratulated the police force for the work they did in capturing the major culprits of the attack on the home stay and said people should support the police in this incident.
Commenting on the comments made by the Chairperson of Karnataka State Women’s Commission Walter said “she needs a blood test to confirm whether she is really a human being”.
Suresh Mathias, owner of one of the three registered home stays in and around Mangalore highlighted a few interesting points for the audience gathered.
He stated that following the recent attack by the hooligans and the extensive media publicity, he received several calls from customers who frequent the home stay, mainly from outside Mangalore, clarifying whether home stays are susceptible to such attacks and whether they were better of and safer staying in hotels during their visits to the city .
Mangalore, despite all that it has to offer, is not a preferred tourist destination primarily because of the bad roads and infrastructure and the city constantly making the headlines for the wrong reasons. If home stay owners are required to check whether the guests are moral or not, have drugs or alcohol in their possession and comment on the suitability of their clothing, even fewer tourists will visit the city, making it unviable to run a home stay, he added.
"Tourism plays a huge role in the development of the city, such as, through Incredible India campaign, we invite people to witness the beauty of this city," he said.
He said that if the government does not dole out the harshest punishment with the highest possible jail sentence to the culprits, this time as well (like was the case with Amnesia attack in 2009) it will be just a matter of time before hooliganism will resurface, taking us back to square one and possibly sitting at another forum like this one, thinking ‘what went wrong‘.
After the formal function citizens were asked to suggest solutions to the current problem. Asha Nayak, a criminal lawyer, explained to the public the nitty-gritty of filing a PIL (public interest litigation) or other complaints. Citizens were also asked to give solutions to the problem.
Dr Derik Lob, Phelomena Peris, Vijaya Vittalanatha Shetty, Vimala Lobo, William Pais were some of the people who expressed their views and gave suggestions. Dr Ajay Kamath compered the programme.