Despite the outcry in the media over the attack on young women at a pub in Mangalore in 2009, the attack on young birthday revellers at a homestay in 2013 and many other similar incidents, acts of moral policing continue unabated in the coastal region of Mangalore.
According to data collated by the Mangalore unit of the Karnataka Communal Harmony Forum, there were 45 moral policing incidents in Mangalore in 2013 — 23 carried out by right wing Hindu groups and 16 by Muslim activists. In 2014, there were 39 such incidents — 25 by Hindu outfits and 14 by Muslim groups. This year, 10 incidents have been reported so far.
Police said one reason why those in the age group of 18 to 28 years continue to indulge in acts of moral policing is the support they receive from the groups they are affiliated to — like Bajrang Dal, Sri Rama Sene and Popular Front of India.
“We are trying our best to reduce these incidents by taking stringent action against offenders. There are rowdy sheets against over 300 people who have indulged in moral policing incidents. The Goonda Act has been slapped against repeat offenders. In all cases, all the accused have been rounded up,’’ said Mangalore City Police Commissioner S Murugan.
“These are all acts of rowdyism… There is nothing moral in it. These are all acts of mob violence. In my view, the first step is to designate these crimes as acts of illegal rowdyism rather than moral policing,’’ said Sharanappa S D, Superintendent of Police, Dakshina Kannada region.
The major cases of moral policing registered in Mangalore — like the pub attack and the homestay attack — are yet to cross the trial stage. Hence, there is no clear picture available about the view the judiciary would take in such cases. In most cases, the arrested youths have been released on bail and are awaiting trial of their cases.
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