In a verdict that has brought immense joy and celebration to the Sri Ram Sene, the 3rd Judicial Magistrate of First Class Court in Mangaluru has acquitted all 30 accused in the infamous pub attack case. This includes chief of Sri Ram Sene, Pramod Muthalik.
“This is a victory of truth and justice has prevailed,” Pramod Muthalik told India Today.
Cases under some 10 sections were filed against them all. His organisation has been protesting against the pub and bar culture. This acquittal however, might strengthen the hands of the moral policing brigade in the state.
In this case, 27 people were testified as witnesses but it is alleged the prosecution could not produce concrete evidence against the accused and hence they have been set free.
Many Mangaluru residents are aghast with this verdict. Samuel Sequeira is disappointed with what has happened today. He tells India Today, “It’s a pattern. Hindutva mobs never get punished for this violence. Innocent Muslims, Christians, Dalits and Leftists are thrown into jail for frivolous reasons. It looks like being a minority is slowly being criminalised.”
Another Mangaluru resident, Roy Castelino added that this verdict is not very encouraging for the general public and they will feel unsafe to go out. “This is not a good signal for law abiding citizens and those who practise moral policing will feel more boosted,” he tells India Today.
“This outcome is entirely unexpected and we had been hoping for the strictest punishment for the guilty as per law,” the residents added further.
Melvin Mendonca who worked as a Journalist in Mangaluru says this verdict will affect the Congress party in the upcoming election. According to him, despite the strong presence of the RSS and BJP, people last time voted for the Congress expecting a change. But now, the citizens themselves will not trust the Congress party since they could not fight this case properly.
The Mangaluru pub attack on youngsters had grabbed international headlines way back in 2009 for moral policing in the state’s volatile coastal city.