Exactly a week after the attack on women at a Mangalore pub by the Right-wing Hindu outfit,the Sri Rama Sene,a magistrates court in the city on Saturday granted bail to all the 28 accused,including Pramod Muthalik,the Sene chief who is accused of instigating,justifying,and conspiring the attack. Prasad Attavar,the vice-president of the Sene,was also among the released. The court granted the bail on condition that the accused must not repeat the offence and be available for investigations.
The Mangalore police had booked the primary attackers in the case under charges of assault on women and tresspassing. However,with the girls attacked at the pub refusing to come forward to press the case and with the pub owners claiming that they could not identify the attackers,the case was already on a weak wicket.
While he was in custody through Saturday,Muthalik was interrogated by two officers of the Maharashtra ATS in connection with the 2008 Malegaon blast case and his links with Col Purohit,an accused in the case.
Muthalik told reporters that the ATS officer questioned him only regarding knowledge of the Malegaon blasts and association with a man called Pravin Muthalik,named by some of the accused in the course of the Malegaon probe.
The Mumbai ATS did not seek his custody in the Mangalore court. Muthalik said he told the ATS that he did not know anyone by the name of Pravin Muthalik and also that he had no links with anyone accused in the Malegaon blasts. Muthalik had,incidentally,made a speech in support of Pragya Thakur Singh,a key accused in the Malegaon blasts during a visit to coastal Karnataka in early January. He claimed the speech was mere rhetoric.
Meanwhile,the Mangalore Advocates Association announced on Saturday that it was planning a protest against reports over the Talibanisation of Mangalore.