But it is our right to save our mothers and daughters
During celebrations across the country of India’s republic day, a shocking incident emerged in Mangalore, South India. A group of girls in a pub were attacked by an invasion of right-wing activist men from the Hindu Sri Ram Sena fringe party. Video footage and reports reveal that the women were slapped, beaten, man-handled, dragged and chased out of the pub by up to forty men. Eight women were injured and two women were taken to hospital further to the act of violence against them.
Sri Ram Sena and the Bajran Dal parties have both separately claimed responsibility for the attacks on the women due to the fact of increasing reports of immoral behaviour in the area.
The attacks took place on 24th January, at the Amnesia Lounge around 3.30pm in the afternoon. When initially, two men entered the bar and quizzed management about alleged drug activities, then suddenly, another thirty-five or more men barged into the pub and specifically focused on the women in the pub, forcing them out using violence. Any men trying to help the women were also beaten and kicked.
A spokesman for the Sri Ram Sena party said that there were certain activities going on that were against Hindu tradition and they were merely showing their frustration at that assault on Indian tradition. This act by them was to show that they will not tolerate such indecent behavior and that they will try to stop it.
There was no real remorse shown by Sri Ram Sena for the incident but there was an apology from their chief, Pramod Muthalik, who said, “The way has been wrong. I apologise for this. The way should not be like that. But it is our right to save our mothers and daughters,” he said. In general, they have said they will continue to be the moral police on such matters.
Here is some video footage of the attack on the women.
Further to seeing footage of the attack there has been huge outrage in the country. In response, the Mangalore police arrested more than ten men on charge of physical assault and criminal intimidation. However, the police have also criticised the media for not informing them of the act taking place when they covered it.
Although this is not the first act of moral policing, this one has certainly sparked many debates and reaction across the nation regarding the slack and ‘thanda’ reaction of authorities towards dealing with this matter and the impact this will have on on the safety young women wishing to going out for social purposes.
There have been rallies and protests by women from Mangalore subsequently, who will not tolerate this kind of treatment and are not going to be held back in society by such actions against them.
Javed Akhtar the well known Bollywood lyricist and writer has called these people who committed the act ‘talabanese’ and said, “One should question what the government and law enforcement agencies are doing in Karnataka. It’s their responsibility to give protection to every citizen and particularly women.”
Similar acts of moral policing in the past have included the aim to ban Valentines Day by the Shiv Sena party. Another reaction has been announced by Ashok Gehlot the chief minister of Rajasthan. He is very much against “pub culture” and boys and girls freely walking hand-in-hand in pubs and malls. He said, “We have ordered closure of shops near temples and parks. The effort made to bring the young generation closer to the liquor culture will be reversed. I want to end the pub and mall culture where young boys and girls roam about hand-in-hand.”
This latest incident has defiintely put the spotlight on the acceptance and non-acceptance of change in social and cultural attitudes in India. This undercurrent of fringe parties are getting attention for their aims to protect the moral values of Indian life, whilst the new generations of Indians are adopting different attitudes and principles, to lead new ways of modern life in India. Which is the better or which is wrong? This is the real question at the heart of this matter.