MANGALURU: Nearly a decade after the infamous Amneisa pub attack in Mangaluru in 2009, 26 accused, including Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik, have been acquitted by a city court due to lack of evidence. Justice Manjunath of Second JMFC delivered the verdict on Monday.The chargesheet was filed against 30 accused of which 26 have now been acquitted.While two of the remaining four accused —Ashwin and Praveen Akashbhavan— unable to bear humiliation had committed suicide, two others have left the country.None of the women victims of moral policing that was caught on camera had appeared in the court to testify against the accused. Muthalik termed the verdict as ‘victory of truth’.
On January 24, 2009, minors attending a birthday party at Amnesia Pub were allegedly assaulted by Sri Rama Sene activists, then a splinter group of Sangh Parivar. It was the first incident of moral policing that was caught on camera by one of their activists. Women at the pub were berated as those having ‘loose morals’ and dragged by their hair, slapped and manhandled. In fact, one of the accused became notorious of sorts as the video footage shows him repeatedly attacking a defenceless girl. Subsequently, North Police station Inspector Vinay Gaonkar and Umesh Shet filed a chargesheet against all 30 youths.
After the video went viral and national channels begun to repeatedly telecast the footage, women’s groups launched the ‘pink chaddi’ campaign and Congress leader Renuka Chowdary urged women to launch “Pub Bharo” campaign. Though the chargesheet against all 30 accused was filed in 2009, the hearing was frequently adjourned for different reasons. The case dragged on for months due to the absence of accused persons. Advocate Dinaker Shetty had filed a case in the Karnataka High Court seeking directions to drop his name from the list as he was not involved in the pub attack.