A local court on March 12 acquitted Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik and his aides in the 2009 Mangaluru pub attack.

Nine years after the incident on January 24, 2009, Muthalik and his men were let off. They assaulted women at the pub and dragged them by the hair, which was caught on camera. The activists, who accused the women of “loose morals”, slapped and manhandled them. The Amnesia Pub attack is another instance of injustice and questions women’s safety in cities

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“It is the victory of truth,” said Muthalik, who was present in court. Interestingly, he had earlier apologised on behalf of the accused men for carrying out such a brazen attack on women.

The judgment provided relief to 25 Sri Ram Sene activists who were involved in the incident.

Justice Manjunath acquitted 25 of the 30 accused, including Muthalik, for lack of evidence. Two of the remaining five accused are dead. Trial is pending against the other three who left the country

Muthalik has represented the BJP off and on. In 2010, a year after the pub attack, he was exterminated from the district. Later in a statement, he called the attack a “big mistake”.

“People are still wary about SRS and refuse to give space for its office or any other activities. Beating the girls in the pub was wrong and uncalled for. It shouldn’t have happened,” he had said back then.

The incident sparked national outrage after the attack’s video clip went viral.

Since the judgement, activists are sharing views on the nonsensical drama.

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Kavita Krishnan, a known activist and Secretary of the AIPWA (All India Progressive Women’s Association) tweeted :

“Citing lack of evidence from the prosecution, the magistrate acquitted me and 30 others of our organisation who were charged by then BJP government in the state,” Muthalik told reporters.

Muthalik said he is considering filing defamation cases against the Congress, which was at the Centre during the incident. He said he had gone through serious “mental, physical and financial” trouble and torture due to the case.

The case fell through as not one victim of the attacks had filed police complaints, so they could not be treated as witnesses, lawyers told The Telegraph on Monday (March 12)

The women victims were not cited as witnesses as they did not lodge complaints or even give statements to the police, said Asha Naik, a lawyer who represented the accused. “Someone is cited as a witness only if he/she lodges a complaint or makes statement. In this case, none of the women were cited as witnesses,” she said.

“How is it possible to even know the actual number if they don’t come forward to record statements or lodge complaints?” she asked.

Feature Image Credit: New Indian Express

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