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"A forward from an affected person this happened last weekSomething for us to ponder over.....>>> A few of my friends and I were just paying our bills and> coming out of our regular Friday night watering hole and> dinner place in Rest House Road, just off Brigade Road, and> most of the women in the company were already standing> outside. Some of us outside were smoking, people were happy,> there was laughter and jokes, as there were many other> people in the street, all coming out, satiated, in the> closing hour of the various pubs and restaurants around.>> Suddenly from up the street a massive SUV comes revving and> speeding, hurtling down, and stops in a scream of brakes and> swirling dust, millimeters away from this group of 4 women,> barely missing one of their legs. A white Audi, imported,> still under transfer, with the registration plate of KA-51> TR-2767. Some millionaire' s toy thing, that in the wrong> hands can kill.>> Naturally the women are in shock. And quickly following the> shock comes indignation. These are self made women running> their own businesses, managing state responsibilities for> global NGO firms, successful doctors. They are not used to> being bullied. So they turn around, instead of shrinking> back in fear. They protest.>> And as soon as they turn around in protest, the car doors> are flung open, and a stream of 4-5 rabid men run out> towards these women, screaming obscenities in Hindi and> Kannada against women in general, fists flailing. Some of us> who came in running at the sound of the screaming brakes now> stand in the middle in defense of our women, and then blows> start raining down. One of the goons make a couple of calls> over the cellphone, and in seconds a stream of other equally> rabid goondas land up. They gun straight for the women, and> everyone – a few well-meaning bystanders, acquaintances> who know us from the restaurant, basically everyone who> tries to help the women – starts getting thoroughly beaten> up.>> Women are kicked in the groin, punched in the stomach,> slapped across the face, grabbed everywhere, abused> constantly. Men are smashed up professionally, blows aimed> at livers, groins, kidneys and nose. A friend is hit> repeatedly on the head by a stone until he passes out in a> flood of blood.>> A plain-clothes policeman (Vittal Kumar) who saunters in> late stands by watching and urging people to stop, but doing> absolutely nothing else. A 'cheetah' biker cop comes> in, with our women pleading him to stop this madness, but he> refuses action, saying a police van will come in soon and he> cannot do anything. Everyone keeps getting hammered.> Relentlessly.>> The carnage continues for over 20 minutes.>> Finally when the police van does come in it is this vandals> who are raging and ranting, claiming to be true "sons> of the Kannadiga soil", and we are positioned to be the> villainous outsiders, bleeding, outraged. How do the cops> believe them, especially seeing the bloody faces of our men> and the violated rage of our women, while they carry nary a> scratch on their bodies? Don't ask me! Yet, it is us who> these goondas urge the newly arrived law-keepers to arrest,> and the police promptly comply, and we are bundled into the> van, some still being beaten as we are pushed in. Some> blessed relief from pain inside the police van at least,> even if we are inside and the real goons outside, driving> alongside in their spanking white Audi. The guy who was hit> by the stone is taken separately by the women to Mallya> hospital.>> Inside the police station at Cubbon Park it becomes clear> that these goons and the police know each other by their> first names. The policeman in charge (Thimmappa) initially> refuses to even register any complaint from me, on the> purported grounds that I am not fluent in Kannada and I have> taken a few drinks (3 Kingfisher pints, to be precise) over> the evening. No, it doesn't matter that I didn't> have my car and was not driving, and no, it doesn't> mater that the complaint will be written in English. We> watch them and the goons exchange smiles and nods with our> our bloodied and swelling eyes and realize in our> pain-clouded still-in-shock brains the extent of truth in> the claim of one of the main goons when he claimed earlier> in the evening in virulent aggression: we own this town,> this car belongs to an MLA, we will see how you return to> this street!!>> This was the turning point of the saga, I guess. For we> refused to lie down quietly and be victims.>> One of our girls, a vintage and proud Bangalorean who is> running one of the town's most successful organic> farming initiatives, took upon herself to write the> complaint, when I was not allowed to write the same. Another> Bangalore girl, a state director of a global NGO firm, wrote> the other molestation complaint separately on behalf of all> the girls. Some of us called our friends in the media and> corporate world. Everyone stepped up. And even when the odds> were down and we were out, we did not give up, and as a> singular body of violated citizens we spoke in one voice of> courage and indomitable spirit. That voice had no limitation> of language, not Kannada, nor English, or Hindi. It was the> voice of human spirit that cannot be broken.>> And in the face of that spirit, for the first time, we saw> the ugly visage of vandalism, hiding behind the thin and> inadequate veil of political corrupt power, narrow-vision> regionalism and self-serving morality, start to wilt.>> We spent 6 hours next day in the police station. The> sub-inspector of police who filed our FIR, Ajay R M, seemed> a breath of fresh air inasmuch that he did not appear> a-priori biased like others, even though the hand of> corruption and politico-criminal power backing these goons> was still manifest in many ways: a starched, white-linen> power-broker walked in handing over his card to the> sub-inspector in support of the goons; the goons got an> audience with the Inspector because of this intervention,> while we had to interact one level lower down in the> hierarchy; the plains cloth policeman of last night, even> though he had arrived far too late in the crime scene, gave> a warped statement, passing it off as a "neutral"> point of view, repeatedly stressing that we came out of a> pub and hence were drinking, positioning this as a> 'drunken brawl', while completely forgetting to> mention the unprovoked attack against the women and the> one-sided vandalism and violence> that ensued. I guess one cannot blame the low ranked> police officer – the criminal connections of these goons> must be pervasive enough for him to be careful.>> Thanks however to the impartial handling of the situation> by Ajay, soon the goons were all identified. The lead actor> was one Ravi Mallaya (38), a real estate honcho and owner of> a small property off Brigade Road which he has converted> into a "gaming" (you know what that means,> don't you?) adda. The others identified are Mohan Basava> (22) of Chamarajapet 12th Cross, R. Vijay Kumar> Ramalingaraju (25) and Shivu Rajashekar (20). All are> residents of 12th & 13th Cross in Vyalikaval. Their> bravado and machismo were by that time evaporated. It was> good to see their faces then.>> Of course nothing much happened to them, nor did we expect> it. They were supposed to be in lock up for at least the> weekend till they were produced in court, but we understand> that they were quickly released on (anticipatory? ) bail. The> car, purportedly belonging to an MLA, also does not figure> in the FIR, apparently for reasons of "irrelevance to> the case".The media also have given us fantastic> coverage and support so far, strengthening the cause.>> The goons meanwhile, as an after thought, also filed the> customary reverse complaint on the morning after we filed> our own complaint: the women have apparently scratched the> car! (Why did they not file the complaint the same night,> considering they came to the Police Station in the same car?> Why was the car allowed to be taken off police custody? Why> is the car still irrelevant to the case and not in the FIR?> Questions.. questions..) .>> Is this the end of this saga? Probably not. Are these> women, more precious to us as friends and wives than most> things in our lives, safe to walk or drive down Brigade Road> from now on or are the goonda elements, slighted by this> arrest and disgrace, are lying in ambush, waiting, biding> their time to cause some of us more grievous harm? We> don't know. Is there reason for us to remain> apprehensive of future attacks and victimization? Perhaps.>> But here is the point.>> We stood up.>> We believed in the power of individual citizens even in the> face of hooliganism, intolerance, corruption and power> mongering. Even though many of us have the option of> leveraging political or government connections, we> deliberately chose to fight this battle as individuals.> Sure, these connections have been activated and they have> been kept informed, should the worst case scenario unfold> tomorrow. But we have chosen to not leverage them. And in> every small win we register as a group of individual> outraged citizens of Bangalore and India, however> insignificant these milestones may be in the larger scheme> of things, there is one small notch adding up in favor of> what is right, one small notch against what is wrong. And we> believe that every such small notch counts, each such mark> is absolutely invaluable.>> It is the people who make this city, this country, this> world. It is you and I, as much as the terrorists inside and> outside. And in our small insignificant little ways, it is> my responsibility and yours to not shirk from investing> effort – not just lip service or any token attempt, but> real effort – in backing up what we ourselves believe in.> It is so easy to logically argue that everything is corrupt,> nothing is worth it, there are so many risks involved. We> must not fall trap to this escapist trend. We must not fail> to try.>> Next time you feel outraged, violated, abused, don't> let it go by and add up to your list of litanies and> complaints. Stand up and take it to the limit - at least> your own limit. Not in the same way as they wrong you, but> in the way that every citizen, at least in theory, is> entitled to complain and protest. Do not let the hooligans> power rant scare you or prompt you into submission. Do not> allow the corrupt cop make you give up trying. Carry the> flame forward. Try harder.>> If are up to it, start right now.>> Forward this note to everyone you want to be made aware of> this. Post it in your own blogs. Talk about it amongst your> circles. And if anyone of you should like to step forward> with a word of empathy or advise, talk to me. Comment.>> It is not Bangalore that is going to the dogs. It is us. We> have far too long become accustomed to let everything go.> And the more we let things go without any protest or fight,> the dormant criminal and dark elements of the society get> that much more encouraged. Every time we turn the other way,> the hooligan next street gets incentivized to push the> boundary a little further, provoke a little more, try> something a little more atrocious. It is time for us to> refuse to let this go on. We are responsible for making> ourselves proud. Lets believe in ourselves. We can do this.>> My name is Saugata Chatterjee. And I am standing up.I> refuse to let Bangalore go to the hooligan slumdogs, even if> some of them are pets of corrupt power millionaires.>> standing up.I refuse to let Bangalore go to the hooligan> slumdogs, even if some of them are pets of corrupt power> millionaires."


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