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Mangalore: About a dozen girls and boys bore the brunt of moral policing when a pro-Hindu organisation today allegedly raided a local private home-stay and attacked them, triggering off protests from public and opposition parties alike.
Police had to resort to mild lathi charge to disperse the mob who gathered at the spot condemning alleged inaction of the authorities in containing such incidents in the city.
According to police, a 50-member group, suspected to be members of 'Hindu Jagaran Vedike', raided the home-stay at Padeel alleging that a rave party was being held there and assaulted girls and boys injuring them.
The faces of some girls were also blackened, police said. Police rushed to the scene and arrested more than 20 people, including a city corporation councillor.
According to the sources, HJV activists who got wind of the party at the resort barged in and starting physically jostling the revelers which included around four women and as many men. A girl who tried to escape from the clutches of HJV activists was brought back to the resort and thrashed. As news of the incident spread, locals including corporator Mohan Padil came to the area and sought action against those involved in partying there. Police later forcibly evicted Mohan from the area.
While the revelers at the resort pleaded with the HJV activists that they were there for a birthday party, the activists in no mood to listen to their protestations slapped one of them, who was seen without a shirt and his pants on. The activists also slapped women revelers and jostled them. Some of the attackers made forcible attempts to remove the hands from faces of women and show it to the visual media. The women revelers later huddled themselves in the room.
Surprisingly within hours, TV channels began showing live footages of the girls being bashed and brutally slapped. A girl wearing pink dress was seen being held tight by three and four men and jostled around.
Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, meanwhile, directed Home Minister R Ashoka to get a report about the attack. "I have asked the Home Minister to get details (about the attack) and a give a report about the incident. Then we will take action," Shettar told reporters in Bangalore.
The return of moral policing in Mangalore, a coastal region, which witnessed similar incidents three years ago, has triggered a wave of condemnation from opposition parties and women organisations against the BJP government. Hundreds of locals, including women, staged protests alleging that police have not taken steps to check illegal activities in the home-stay despite complaining on several occasions. H
owever, Deputy Commissioner of the district Chennappa rejected the charge and said "it is a private building where paying guest facilities were being offered. There was no complaint from anyone to the district administration."
While state unit Hindu Jagaran Vedike President Jagadish Karanth defended the attack and demanded a check on such "obscene activities", Congress leader V S Ugrappa lashed out at the government for its "failure" to maintain law and order and ensure communal harmony.
State Women Commission Chairperson Manula decried the attack and wanted the government to punish the culprits.
Three years ago right wing organisation 'Sriram Sene' activists had raided pubs in Mangalore, which had hit the headlines then.
With input from PTI