MANGALURU: Valentine’s Day will continue be a subdued celebration in Mangaluru city this year too. Unlike in other major cities of the state, pubs, malls and other hangouts of the youths here have refrained from holding any special events to mark the day. Even greeting cards and gifts are missing from the shelves of almost all gift shops — thanks to the fear of attack that has gripped the city’s youths and business establishments like pubs and gift shops.
Past incidents like the infamous 2009 pub attack and multiple moral policing incidents have left a deep scar on the city’s psyche, which still haunts them. Though the right-wing outfits have abstained from issuing open threats to those celebrating Valentine’s Day, people are not ready to take the risk by celebrating the event in public spaces.
A law student said, “The scary scenes of men attacking girls and boys in the pub attack case are still etched in my memory,” she said.
Though the pub culture has flourished in the second most cosmopolitan city of the state after a lull following the pub attack, its owners do not dare to decorate the premises for February 14. However, according to the owner of a pub operating in the CBD, they are not losing out anything because of
it. “The business is fairly good all through the year. So,I don’t feel the need to spruce up the premises for occasion,” he said.
However, according to sources, rather than fear of law, its the tacit understanding between the pub owners and potential troublemakers which has kept the situation ‘under control’ since last few years.
Social activist Vidya Dinker said it is an open secret that ‘special arrangements’ are made to ensure that the day is celebrated within pubs. Connections are established with potential troublemakers and peace set with money or other things.
Police Commissioner TR Suresh said the present situation does not require executing a bond, indicating that all is well. He said there will be normal security in the city on Valentine’s Day.