Mangaluru: ‘Such incidents will not be allowed’, ‘Zero tolerance towards such anti-social elements’ and similar-sounding other proclamations have been heard right from the chief minister, home minister, the DGP and the SP and the commissioner of police, besides the local ministers and elected representatives, during the past months.
The mediapersons were directed not to term it as ‘moral policing’ but as ‘immoral rowdyism’. Well, so far so good. But all the assurances and warnings apart, the incidents of vigilante attacks have continued just like business as usual.
In the latest incident, some students of Mangaluru University, who had gone to the Mogaveerapatna beach in Ullal on Tuesday, were trailed and assaulted by a gang, which, quite shockingly, included an underage boy.
Final-year PG students Ramesh from northern Karnataka, Shafiullah from Boliyar and three female students had, as they had no class, gone to spend their time at the beach in Ullal. Five locals noticed that one of them belonged to a minority community and began following them. Alerted by this development, the students caught a bus and returned to Konaje.
The gang followed them in an autorickshaw. Near the university campus, they caught hold of Ramesh and assaulted him. Shafiullah managed to escape from them. Another report said that Ramesh was in fact dragged out of the bus in Thokkottu and taken to Konaje and then thrashed.
The police were informed. They arrived and took Suhan, Sunil, Prajwal, Chandra and Akash (a minor, name changed). They were produced in court and sent to judicial custody up to Oct 19. Police sources said that they were being included in the rowdy list.
Ideal remedy for the problem
Speaking to our correspondent, a professor at the university said that it was a sad situation wherein youngsters in their teens and twenties were being misguided and driven to doing such things, while the forces behind the scenes remain safe. Such youngsters were likely to be permanent criminals.
He suggested that the police, instead of superficially acting by punishing the foot-soldiers who are mere puppets, they should go after the big players – ‘sutradharis’, as he termed them – behind the scenes.
He wondered as to why the police, when in most cases the miscreants use motorbikes, would not trace the owners and try to find out the source of funds for their fuel and food expenses.
Others around agreed with the thought. The police may well consider this option of a step in future.