Attacks on Women in Karnataka

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1 March 2009

Over the last one week, several women have been violently attacked in Bangalore.
On 28 Feb at 10.30 pm, Sanjana got hit by two men on a bike who slowed down, socked her on her jaw and fled away.
On 24 Feb, Lakshmi was attacked at around 9 pm by four men who punched her, hit her, and abused her for wearing jeans.
On 17 Feb, two men chased Geetanjalis car at 1.30 pm. One chased her with a large stone as she ran to a friends house for refuge.
That week, Jasmine was attacked by four middle-aged men at 11.30 am when her auto broke down. They physically assaulted and tried to disrobe her while yelling obscenities.

More than 80 attacks and cases of moral policing have been reported from all over Karnataka in the last six months. Two women have committed suicide after humiliation from right-wing forces. On 12 Feb, Vanita killed herself after Bajrang Dal activists attacked her. On 11 Feb, Ashwini killed herself after Venur Bajrang activists attacked her and her friend Salim.

The police have not taken meaningful steps to stop or prevent this violence, to arrest the perpetrators, or to ensure the safety of all women in Bangalore and Karnataka. On the 2nd of March when a group of concerned citizens protested outside the Police Commission Shankar Bidaris office, urging him to take action to make the city safer for women he blatantly denied the fact that these attacks have been taking place and said Bangalore is one of the safest cities for women and that there was no law and order problem.

These attacks are crimes against women. They are legal offences. They are neither isolated events nor trivial incidents of eve-teasing. They are part of a series of attacks inflicted on women in the name of morality, attacks that are escalating as women resist and fight back.

It is the core responsibility of the state and city police to ensure that public spaces are kept safe for all. Women across class barriers from powrakarmikas to garment factory workers to students and young professionals in the corporate sector have today become vulnerable targets on the streets of Karnataka.

As an organization fighting for the rights of all women, we demand that the Bangalore and Karnataka state and city police immediately:
Take punitive action to ensure that the attackers are punished by the law;
Take preventive action to ensure that no more women are attacked in Bangalore and Karnataka;
Take enabling action to ensure that streets and public spaces in Bangalore and Karnataka are safe for all women to use and enjoy as a matter of right.