A horrific incident of public shaming has come to light in Hittanahalli Tanda, located in Bijapur district’s Sindagi taluk of Karnataka.
On the morning of July 12, relatives of a man named Shankar Rathod, disrobed him, made him wear a skirt, garlanded him with slippers and shaved off half his hair and moustache over a charge of molestation.
Shankar was then made to walk from his home to the village square, to the sound of beating drums, all along the way.
According to the Devarahippani Police, the village’s fair was being held on July 11 at the Laksmi Temple nearby and Shankar’s cousin, Umaraj Rathod had invited him to his place after visiting the fair.
“All the relatives, who had come for the fair went to Umaraj’s house that night and some of the male relatives got drunk. They also had dinner and while Shankar was getting up, he held Umaraj’s daughter’s hand. Angered by this, Umaraj alleged that Shankar was trying to molest his daughter and they had a verbal argument that night,” Devarahippani Police said.
On the morning after this incident, Umaraj gathered his relatives and publicly shamed Shankar by parading him semi-naked on the road.
“An FIR was registered on July 12 against Shankar based on Umaraj’s complaint that Shankar had tried to molest his daughter,” the police added.
Angered by the public shaming meted out to Shankar, his family members filed a counter complaint of harassment against Umaraj, his two sons Koushik and Eerappa, along with eight other family members at the same police station.
Shankar though, has been remanded to judicial custody.
Reacting strongly to the incident, district in-charge minister, MB Patil, condemned the act and urged the people not to take the law into their hands.
“In the past few months, several cases of public shaming and mob justice have been reported in the district. If there is any trouble, approach the police and enlist their help legally. Do not take the law into your hands. How can a man be shamed in such a brutal way?” MB Patil said.
This is not the first instance of mob justice and public shaming reported in Bijapur. In June, a woman was disrobed, brutally assaulted and paraded naked on the streets in Vijayapura. The woman had gone to demand money, which one man allegedly owed her, when his family members resorted to shaming her.
“The wife of the man was the one who had disrobed and assaulted the woman. These incidents cannot be condoned. The police and district authorities must be more aware,” Patil said.