The demand comes against the backdrop of the savage gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in Delhi.

Dalit activists urged the Mangalore police on Sunday to take steps to ensure the safety of women and be firm while dealing with cases of sexual harassment of Dalit women here. The demand comes against the backdrop of the savage gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in Delhi. She died on Saturday.

Raising the issue at the monthly Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes grievance redress meeting held at the Mangalore Police Commissioner’s office, activist S.P. Anand alleged Dalit women were being harassed and raped in the city, but action was not being taken.

He said that there had been “several cases” of sexual assault and harassment in Surathkal and Moodbidri, but arrests had not been made. “In some cases, complainants are forced to drop the charges or agree to a compromise due to political pressure. The police are a party to the whole business,” he alleged.

Dalit activist Ashok Konchady said that on December 5, a Dalit girl from Vamanjoor had filed a complaint with the Mangalore Rural Police accusing Nagaraj, a non-Dalit from Karumbaru near Bajpe, of sexually exploiting her after promising to marry her. Nagaraj, who had been called to the station on December 12, had been reported absconding from the police station, he said. “The police then said that since the offence happened near Bajpe, we should file a case there. We filed a case at Bajpe station but the police have not yet arrested him,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) M. Mutthuraya assured the activist that Nagaraj would be apprehended soon. He also urged the activists to bring to the attention of the police any sexual harassment cases that may have occurred and assured that the perpetrators would be “dealt with firmly”.

He asked officers to intensifying patrolling in Dalit colonies at night.

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