Attacks on inter-religious couples and “goondaism” with communal overtones can only be curbed if victims come forward with their complaints, Mangalore City Commissioner R. Hitendra told reporters on the sidelines of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe grievance meet held here on Sunday.
Reacting to reports on an alleged attack on an autorickshaw driver who was carrying a passenger from a minority community on Friday, the Commissioner said: “The driver has not come forward with a complaint. We cannot do anything about it. Only if the police are the witness to the crime, then a suo motu case can be taken up. Else, we won’t have any eye-witnesses, and we won’t have evidence to show in court.”
When asked if the district had received any warning after the communal violence in Chikmagalur on Saturday, Mr. Hitendra said that the police in all districts were on their toes following the incident.
During the SC/ST grievance meet, activist Dinesh Kumar said two shoe-repair shops owned by Dalits were displaced during the start of construction of the Thokottu flyover. “But bigger fruit shops belonging to other castes still function. We have no objection to the flyover, but apply the same rules to everyone,” he said.
The police said they would enquire if there were any illegal demolitions.
Dalit activist Lingappa Nantoor said that though four ST families had been residing in Kadri for more than 90 years, they were yet to be given title deeds, voters’ ID cards, caste certificates or any sort of identification card. “For the past three years, we’ve written to the Mangalore City Corporation and the district administration. But they’ve ignored our protests,” he said. The police replied that they have little to do with revenue matters, and can only forward the grievance to the relevant authorities.
Apart from welcoming Mr. Hitendra, who had recently been appointed the top cop in the city, the activists bid adieu to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime and Traffic) D. Dharmaiah who retires from service on December 31.