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The Rediff Interview/Shri Ram Sene Legal Advisor Dinaker Shetty

'There is a need to safeguard Indian culture'

February 02, 2009

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The controversy over the attack on girls in a pub in Mangalore refuses to die down.

In the past week, several versions of the story have surfaced. Dinaker Shetty, legal advisor to the Shri Ram Sene and the outfit's Mangalore unit leader, was blamed for masterminding the attack at the pub. However, he denies it. According to him, what happened at the pub was different from what the media has been reporting.

In an interview with rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa, Shetty puts across his version of the Mangalore attack. He says his outfit is not upset about the mission they have embarked upon, but the manner in which it was carried out.

What is your take on the investigation that is being undertaken by the Women's Commission and also the Women and Child Development ministry?

Each one has a right to look into the matter. However, there is one point that I would like to make. When women have been attacked, the Women's Commission has a right to look into the matter. But I completely disagree with the move by the Women and Child Development ministry who have sent an officer to look into the incident. In my view, the officer does not have the power to look into this matter.

Moreover, what I fail to understand why all this is taking place when the government of Karnataka has already acted on the matter?

You are the legal advisor to the Sene. Violence under the Indian Penal Code is punishable. What kind of advice do you give the Sene?

A protest is a democratic right and everyone has the right to protest peacefully. Regarding the violence, I had condemned the attack on day one because the Sene does not believe in assaulting women. I feel sad about it and I maintain that this should not have happened. I have never advised the Sene to resort to violence and neither does the organisation believe in it.

The Sene seems to be donning the role of moral policeman. Do you think it is needed?

Yes, very much. Forget the pub culture. It is the opium-marijuana culture that we have in our colleges today. Don't [Images] you think someone should raise their voice against it? Pramod Muthalik (the Sene founder) has clearly stated that the Sene would fight the issue in a democratic way.

We also maintain that we need the help of the police in fighting this issue. There is no harm in fighting against a live band, pub and drug culture. Students need to be guided and when no one seems to be bothered, I don't think there is any harm in someone raising this issue.

Is there need to molest women to tell them about their culture?

How have you come to that conclusion? The women were not molested in the pub. Yes, I do agree that the incident went haywire, but there was no intention of harming the women.

Tell us what exactly happened.

It was not a suo motu action on the part of the Shri Ram Sene. Our boys got a call from a member of the general public that two girls in the pub had collapsed after they had been drugged. They then went to the pub and demanded that they be allowed to inspect the area.

The boys waited for ten minutes, but the pub owners refused to let them in. There was a minor argument and finally the boys were allowed to inspect the place. Their intention was only to get the girls out safe.

If there was an issue with the girls inside the pub, why didn't you wait for the pub owners to take a call? When something happens in their premises, it is their responsibility...

You think that boys would have bothered the pub owners had they acted on their own. They were not taking any action. If the pub owners thought there was going to be trouble after the boys landed there, why didn't they bother calling the cops?

The reason why they didn't want the cops around was because they didn't want anyone to find out about the illegalities going on over there.

Your boys inspected the place and they could have warned the pub owners and left. Why did violence break out?

I have been screaming on television channels about this, but they always cut off this byte of mine. Apart from members of the Sene there were members of the general public and these are the persons who started the violence.

I have been saying that there was a member of the Congress party in that crowd and he was equally responsible for the violence. He thought he could instigate the same and then the blame anyway would have fallen on the Sene. There is a section of the media which is against the Sene for obvious reasons and that is why they are reporting this issue selectively.

What do you mean by 'selectively'?

There was a fashion show organised in Mangalore four months back by a leading media house. The Sena protested against this event since fashion shows are not part of our culture. The event was disrupted to a certain extent and this media house was very upset about it.

Will there be a change in the Sene's agenda after all the bad press that you have got?

Honestly, no. We will try and ensure that none of the protests turn violent and will take extreme precaution in that matter. However, there is a need to safeguard Indian culture. Even Muthalik had apologised for the violence in the Mangalore incident, but also added that along with the police he will help safeguard Indian culture.

The lives of students are being ruined and there is a need for someone to stand up. However, I assure that it will be done legally.

Give us some details about the Anti Terrorist Squad's interrogation of Muthalik in connection with the Malegaon case.

They were trying to draw a connection between Pramod and Pravin Muthalik. I can tell you that there is no connection. There is no case against Pramod Muthalik. That is all I have to say.


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