Vimochana and other organisations have written an open letter to chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for Women C. Manjula expressing “total shock and distress” over her report on the attack on young girls and boys at a ‘homestay’ in Mangalore during a birthday party on July 28, and demanded it be withdrawn.

‘Hard-line stance’

In the letter signed by representatives of 15 women’s rights and human rights organisations, the activists said they felt “betrayed” by Ms. Manjula’s “hard-line stance” of pointing a finger at the use of alcohol and drugs playing a role in provoking the attack.

They have taken exception to Ms. Manjula’s dismissal of the concern of women’s groups as “pseudo concerns”.

“On the one hand, you have condemned the attack and asked for tough action against the perpetrators in your report, while your public stand is that young women are being led astray by drinking habits and sections of society have begun to support the culture of drinking. Are you then indirectly condoning the attack?” the activists said in the letter.

They said that the men who attacked the girls were themselves in an inebriated condition.

The organisations also expressed concern over the statements of the former chairperson of the commission Pramila Nesargi, who said that the attackers perhaps had the objective of “saving the girls.” They said that condemning the assault but upholding the stand of the attackers was “doublespeak.”

They demanded to know why, if alcohol consumption was the primary problem, the commission did not challenge the State’s policy that seeks to profit enormously from the trade in alcohol by indiscriminately issuing licences.

The other signatory organisations of the open letter include Alternative Law Forum, Fedina, Garment Mahila Karmikara Munnade, Hengasara Hakkina Sangha, Mahila Dakshata Samiti, Janodaya, Manini, Samanata Mahila Vedike and Stree Jagruti Samiti.

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