Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Must read. Must help!!

hey mam..
in my furious..angry mood..i have forwarded u a mail from the Blank Noise Bangalore page..(The NGO against Sexual harassment..and i am involved with) ..please read it and you will be startled with aimless exploitation of human worth...
regards..(but still furious)ABHI

Blogdosts, I just had to share this with you. I met young Abhishek Choudhary in Bangalore a few months ago when I'd gone there to address students at his college. I found him sincere, impassioned and courageous. We have been friends since then... De

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 ... Reply Forward
shobhaa de to Abhishek :Bravo!! Proud of you. Am putting it up on my blog asap. thanks !! De1:53 PM (5 minutes ago)


Anonymous said...

Yes, your pyare Raj Thackeray could take some tips from these guys!

Anonymous said...

Here's Shobhaa De defending Raj Thackeray:

hitch writer said...

Shocking !! this just keeps happening all the time everywhere ..!!

God this has to stop !!

Serendipity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Serendipity said...

its Fantastic that your putting it on your blog.. will reach a larger audience.

I got this too a few days ago, read it with sad and re-stirred anger which is just pent up inside and then figured its one of those incidents which we the common man can make a hue and cry about and nothing will ever happen.

A group of us got together after 26/11 and started what's now turning into a Charitable trust to help 26/11 victims(now moved onto other things other than 26/11 victims since most cases are settled)..which helped vent some of the anger into constructive help... a website in under construction, but the bloglink (temp) is


Think its only citizens initiatives that can help vent at least some anger, and direct it towards causes that could use our time and effort.

Also, w.r.t people putting up the IBNlive interview link STILL.. Why dont You remove the 'Anon' feature, could help with the spamming.

Anonymous said...

I am ashamed and terrified. Supreme Court says that bloggers can be summoned for their views. I am gagged. It is not easy to lodge an FIR. It is not advisable to blog. We will all become mental wrecks with goons ruling us with full support from everyone. I protest violence against anybody irrespective of gender, region. A violent person will not limit his or her violence to one particular group or gender forever. He or she will grow bold and become a law unto himself or herself.

Rashida said...

few individuals can indeed make a massive difference... the only flaw in india is the existence of such para-government entities. once they are eliminated or silenced, then we can ponder on ways to fight the external enemies!!!

Anonymous said...

Kyon "Serendipity"?
Isme sharmane ki kya hai :o)?
Are you ashamed of your "heroine" Shobhaa De for supporting Raj Thackeray?
If you are not, then don't try to hide the fact. Let the world know it!

Zlaek said...

Oh that's so nice of (all three of) you to get this here, for us to read.

That whole thing was really frightening. The kind of thing that now makes you feel uncomfortable walking in and out of any-damn-where!

Anonymous said...

The cause for all this disaster is the mothers of these goons. The folly they've made is failed to teach them to respect women. Instead the idea of women being the foot stool of man has been instilled in them. Some could have been born out of illegitimate relationships, what about the other goons who have mothers? How the hell have these responsible mothers moulded their children? So you see, women are the trouble makers for women. Well, I can't think of a way that would possibly remedy the situation. Everything damn thing in the country has to be reformed. Let's start this reformation at home.
Hats off to those women who have boldly fought for their rights. God knows if I would have done it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Abhishek,

It is indeed sad and shocking what occurred with your friends and you. Sounds like a Ram Gopal Varma Hindi film.

I hope something comes of your protest. please leave an email or Dear Ms De, please do post an email belonging to Abhishek via which we can be in touch with him, if you would be so kind.

Abhishek, it would help though to know that sometimes things are not what they seem or appear to be and that sometimes, people who are supporting you could actually be friends of the establishment that perpetrates and turns a blind eye to political hooliganism which essentially has been the ruling party post Indian independence.

Unless they come out in the open and declare ties broken with such elements, I dont know how far such support from such quarters will go.

You see, that's the scary thing. The media, the powers that be, the supporters of the powers that be, corporate interests and the hooligans all exist in the same space - maximisation of their vested interests. Not humanity. Not the triumph of spirit. Look at how our corporate royalty for example vociferously supported the allegedly hooligan sympathetic leader of a state that is known as the birthplace of Satyagraha. Gandhigiri exists in celluloid my friend, not in the real world of starry starry nights, cocktail evenings and events. That Spirit evaporates by tomorrow's headlines, in newspapers and blogs.
Of course, there's always hope. Honey.

A.prem said...

it really sounds like a movie..i sometimes wonder is the transaction reel to real or real to reel!

but the point is such incidents makes life even more miserable and scary to proudly walk no the streets of our 'democratic republican country'

the people in power are mere pain in the neck. If only they had a thing called loyalty flowing in their blood!

Bindu Nayar said...

Have no words to expplain this rubbish..seriously this has to stop...people's life has so respect and value.. am so totally sick of this...

Sidhusaaheb said...

I am confused between "India Shining" and "Mera Bhaarat Mahaan" being the most appropriate title.

BTW, humans are not the only victims, as I've tried to bring out through http://sidhusaaheb.blogspot.com/2008/12/defenceless-victims-of-reckless-driving.html

Ankit said...

I saw ur times now debate..Ur dress up was pathetic...ur hairstyle was looking like a spirit searching for a light house

vemuri said...

hmmm yesterday i saw ur interview in NDTV i gues.... about oscars..... u were really looking..... i mean i dunno whether to put it this way or not but u were looking real good and HOT....

please don mind my language..

Mohammad Umar Baba (Byline: Baba Umar) said...

I wish you write something on Kashmir's women too who have a lot to tell you on their sufferings...

Anonymous said...

We have brought these lumpens/parasites in power by keeping quiet, feeding their ego for so long.
It is like those few Taliban goons, about 3,000 of them who are scaring the whole of the Pak army.
We have been reading for the past few years warnings, especially from stalwarts like P. Nandy who have been warning us time and again of what would happen once these goons, so called moral policing take over/comes into force.
We failed to take notice, heed these warnings, as were are not used to "prevention better than cure" measures.
Now we will have to engage THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN to take care of us, save us from these animals.

Piper .. said...

I read this at another blogger friend`s post. Its completely outrageous! And scary as hell! I dunno how this issue will ever get sorted out, given the present level of corruption in the police force. I wonder how many of us will ever have the guts to stand up this way..

Anonymous said...

It is an absolute shameful thing...Being a women in India in itself is such a big challenge, and shameful events like this makes it more impossible. Wonder why govt is just watching?

Harish said...

de, thanks for posting this.

and abhishek. love you. with you...

do keep me posted of any activities in bombay...

i would like to be involved in teh cause and dissolve in your group. count me in as a volunteer.

9833100340 is my number
people.n.nature@gmail.com is my email

www.MumbaiTerrorHelpline.blogspot.com is where i blog...


Nandini Rao said...

I used to reside at Rest House Apts....it used to be a very peaceful locality. I really don't know how much has changed, but this incident is devastating. Everything around us seems to fall apart. I honestly don't know where to start, if we are to make a change for our betterment. I ask all you bloggers to come up ideas, solutions,...so that we can guard ourselves without wanting help from this corrupt administration, & without taking the law into our own hands. I cannot think of a solution as of now. Maybe, you guys & all fellow bloggers can come up with little ideas to tackle this nonsense. Do write in. It would help us develop an organization that would protect our social standing in this country. Guys, only we can tackle this, & only we can help ourselves. Please write in so that we can act. If we do not act now, we will never do so in the future also. And Abhishek, great going! Please let me know if you do have a solution to this problem I am willing to participate.

Nandini Rao.

Anonymous said...

There were two other attacks on women by 2-4 unidentified men in bangalore over the last 2 days. An account of one is given as a link below..



Vetirmagal said...

Abhishek, hats off to you and your friends for standing up , and also to all the ladies who were strong enough to go through the ordeal. Just when we think everything has ended, here is a warning. It has not.

What was the provocation here? Just because they stood up and refused to be coy about being run down on the road?

The goons spontaneous rection is to abuse the women and be violent?

Is this the Bangalore we admired till recently?

A place that has such fine organisations like Wipro, Infosys,?
A place where civil soceity is much stronger than other cities? Is'nt it time all these decent people come out in protest against this incident?

There are so many questions, but one thing is certain. So long as we as a soceity remain silent, this will only strengthen the violators.

Many thanks to Shobha De for bringing this out in the open.

Hope we will hear many voices to join in the protest.

Indian Home Maker said...

This is just what I feared after that fist attack, this is like a Nightmare!

Anonymous said...

Umm.. This sounds unreal ! I wonder why none of the media published this incident ! The question is, Did it really happen ?

Mohammad Umar Baba (Byline: Baba Umar) said...

Means--when Kashmir started to boil--how was that period --you might have written something over it....i was five at that age--and i do remember a wee bit over how the insurgency began..

Raja said...

First time I am reading your blog.
Looks very interesting.

I just want to say this particular piece resonates strongly with me.

Running away from the ground realities of India or pontificating about them is easy.

Facing them head-on, like Abhishek and the women he refers to have done, requires tremendous courage.

This should inspire more Indians to speak up, to not suffer silently. With appropriate attention, hopefully this - and similar acts of defiance - will bring about change in society.

Accepting injustice is one of the main reasons why it is perpetrated in the first place.

My thanks to you for doing your bit to bring this story out to a wider audience.

And my salute to Abhishek and all the women involved for their courage.

Anonymous said...

hellloz everyone..

hi this is Abhishek and i earnestly, honestly thank everyone on this blog..from Madam De to all the people who have understood the intensity of this event and are now planning to take this fire ahead and stop this brutal exploitation of our lives..

i am extremely happy and proud with all the comments pouring in this section...seething with your regards..

thank you so much..!!!!

Harish said...

Abhishek... We love you immensely and are proud of you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shobha,

It is Saugata Chatterjee (not Abhishek) who wrote this entry.
My blog has the complete entry by Saugata Chatterjee including the last paragraph of his entry which is missing from your blog.

The Altlaw lawyers (they were a part of the pink chaddi campaign too) are helping us out here so I will blog about it as soon as something concrete takes shape.

Vinod Ranganath said...

landscape? Is this a precursor of Shiv sena riots of 1969 against South Indians in Mumbai happening in Karnataka? I remember brigade road had strip tease joints every few feet way back in 1983. They used to be publicised in local newspapers unabashedly... their pubs used to be open till way past midnight as of a few years back and now i am told the time limit is 11 pm... Why is there this intolerance towards anything that is perceieved as non or un indian by a sect of society? Why this sudden interest in safe guarding our values? Is this regressive sentiment in our ruling class translating to our middle class which is why we are also subjugated to regressive soaps on TV? Ballika Vadhu in the name of child marriage is actually championing the cause of regressiveness.. and we have one more show on the so called socially relevant topic of femal infanticide coming on the same channel which in its promo's show a girl child born being killed by the father.........
Or is it... is it that semi educated people, who have been on the fringes of society taking up these issues to make a career in politics? People who find it difficult to get into mainstream who are reacting in a violent manner to be heard and be counted? and the only way they know to be counted is through goondaisim?
where will this stop? Its a very scary scenario? The right wing parties like The MMS and Shiv Sena including the BJP are trying to distance themselves from such acts of bravado by these fringe organisations like the one headed by Muthalik of the infamous Managlore pub incident... These parties like the rest will make politically correct noises sensing the mood of the populace and convenienetly forget that they are the ones who started all this in the first place.
what can we do? Abhishek and his friends need to be commended for their brave stance and fight... but we need to realise that this might happen in Mumbai tonight? what can we do? hold candle light to Gateway in protest? Or send Pink Chaddis?
I think we need to do something more substantial... these are emotional reactions as witnessed during the Gateway Candle light march of dec 2nd.. a majority of the misguided youngsters were shouting anti pakistan slogans.. and they thought they were being patriotic!
we need to form a kind of pressure group.. a group that should start fighting for basic civil rights... basic reform in Police laws... protection of women and at the sametime educate the police force (however corrupt or politically manipulated they might be)of the law and their duties.
The Pink Chaddi campaign was sucessful to the extent that it stopped feb 14th violence in Karnataka... but then didn;t this above mentioned incident follow? The mangalore pub attack earlier and now this... These guys will keep coming back and we will be caught napping.. We need to create a pressure group that will fight day on day for the betterment of our civil rights... fight for our women & kids... protest and put pressure on governments both state and central for better law implemntation and basic rights. I think the time is right now as most parties are in election mould and want to be politically correct and want to appease.. Renuka Chaudhary being voiciferous and supporting the Pink Chaddi campaign is an e.g.
lets take advantage of the time... and go for the kill...
Need any help i am ready....

Indian Home Maker said...

@Vinod Very well said!
I will be there on the 8th, and I liked the idea in a comment above, of a tagline that goes, "YADA YADA HEE DHARMASYA..."

Harish said...

Vinod, Thanks for the compassionate, straight-from- the- heart comment.

It is sad but true that we are a "reacting" nation and not an "proactive" nation.

There is a need to design innovative campaigns to keep up the interest levels of the people. And Do engage in small acts of compassion and activism for the larger good. Not all effects are tangible and measurable... But they add up to the overall good.

Blank Noise an organisation is not simply reactive, they are proactive in their approach and have had camps recently in bombay at carter road. So they have branched out and are not restricted by geography.

Way to go!

S.S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.