Video: Moral policing attack on minor girls at Kerala tourist spot

The girls were near a tourist spot in Thiruvananthapuram when a man, accompanied by others, began beating them with a stick.
Moral policing in Pothencode
Moral policing in Pothencode
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On September 4, a few girls including minors, who came to the tourist spot of Vellanickal Para, near Pothencode of Thiruvananthapuram, were beaten up by men of the neighborhood in what appears to be an act of moral policing. Media One has now released the video of the attack, shot by a witness who is heard trying to reason with the men. The Pothencode police filed a case of the incident, based on the complaint of the mother of one of the girls.

“The girls live nearby and had come to visit the place. The complaint mentions two girls, one aged 19 and another aged 11. Maneesh, who lived in the area, is said to have beaten the girls on their limbs with a stick. He was arrested under sections 294 B (sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the Indian Penal Code. He was released on bail after that,” said an official at the Pothencode police station to TNM.

In the video, however, more than two girls can be seen together as a few men approach them. One of them strikes the girls with a stick, and they begin crying out loudly. The person shooting the video questions Maneesh, asking him why he was beating the girls. Maneesh responds, saying that he only hit them “below the knees.” It is unclear what triggered the attack, but appears to be an act of moral policing, when a group of young girls came sightseeing together. The girls tell the person shooting the video that they had come to visit a friend nearby and were just standing there when the man began attacking them.

Watch: Video of the incident

A female voice can also be heard pacifying the girls, telling them they have done nothing wrong. She also questions the attacker on why he didn’t call the police, if he thought there was a problem. The girls, clearly upset, can be heard saying they didn’t want “a scene” and one of them says she is 13-years old. When asked why he is hitting the girls, Maneesh can be heard asking aloud in the video, “Don’t you read the papers?” Incidents of moral policing are often reported from various parts of Kerala, and tourist spots especially are not free of them. Earlier this year, a couple was subjected to moral policing at Judgekunnu viewpoint in Thiruvananthapuram by a gang of men.                    

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