One year on, the victims of the infamous attack on youth celebrating a birthday party in a boarding home in Padil say their outlook on life has completely changed. While the men assaulted reaffirm their commitment to see the case to its logical end, they admit that it is difficult getting the girls, who were beaten, to pursue the case.
“There has been a lot of difference in the way I think and pursue life,” said Gurudutt Kamat, one of those assaulted. He and his friend Vijay Kumar, who was hosting his birthday party last year, were among seven assaulted by scores of activist belonging to the Hindu Jagrana Vedike.
The two relived the months of tension after the incident – from police mistreating them as they filed the complaint to Hindu rightwing members attacking them a few weeks later in Attavar, to the police threatening Mr. Kumar before the bail hearing for journalist Naveen Soorinje.
“There is no fear at all. We have not done anything wrong. We want to take up the case and ensure this never repeats,” said Mr. Kamat. While the girls who were assaulted have returned to their colleges bearing no psychological marks of the assault, he said it was nearly impossible to convince their parents to allow the girls to testify in court.
Earlier, at a discussion that dissected the assault and its aftermath, Mamatha S. Yajman, activist of Vimochana, Bangalore, said women were at the receiving end of such attacks. “Religious fanatics dictate women to live as per religion’s traditions. There is no unity or political will to deal with these attacks,” she said.
Arvind Narrain, activist of Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore, said that moral policing menace is not limited to one religion, and is practised by fanatics of all religions.
Taking on the police, advocate Dinesh Hegde Ulepady said: “The police protect the accused during incidents of moral policing and harass the victims in custody.”