After one year, Mangalore Home Stay experience still haunts victims

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Mangalore: The time was around 7 pm. The day, July 28. And what should have been a happy gathering of young people celebrating the birthday of  a friend turned into a nightmare at the Morning Mist Home Stay in Padil as activists of the Hindu Jagarana Vedike barged in, attacking them.

A year later, the ugly incident is still fresh in the minds of many of the victims. Says Anusha (name changed), one of the girls at the party, “It’s hard to forget something like that.  But my parents and friends have helped me overcome it. I am concentrating on my education and trying hard not to think about it.”

The experience was frightening as the goons chased the young boys and girls, and even slapped a few of them, all in the name of moral policing. The furore over the incident saw the authorities swing into action and arrest 38 of the 44 named in the chargesheet, including the main accused, Subhash Padil. Three of those arrested have been refused bail and are still in prison.

While Anusha is in frequent touch with the other girls who were present at the Home Stay during the attack, she admits to having almost stopped going out to parties.

“Except for two functions, she has hardly been to any party in the last year. Even if she  goes out to any function, she is always with us,” says her father, adding, “My daughter had a perforation in her ear when she was slapped by a goon and was under treatment for several months but has now recovered.”

He is clearly happy that most of the accused have  spent about a year behind the bars. “Though a few more of those involved have evaded arrest so far, I am happy that most of the others were in jail for at least a year,” he notes with satisfaction.

“On the surface it seems like moral policing is under control, but there has been no real change,” Vidhya Dinker, convener, Forum Against Atrocities on Women.

Situation has improved in last one year: Karbikar

Mangalore city police chief, Manish Karbikar  says there has been no incident like the pub attack or home stay attack in the last year in the city as the police has been keeping close tabs on the situation.

“There were some cases of young boys speaking to girls being attacked, but those involved have been arrested,” he adds. While several organisations had demanded those involved in the home stay attack be tried under the Goonda Act, nothing has come of it so far, he confirms.

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