In an incident of moral policing and alleged rape in Karnataka, an interfaith couple staying at a hotel in Haveri district was verbally abused and physically assaulted by three Muslim men on January 8. The woman has alleged that the men who dragged her out of the hotel later raped her.
The video of the incident shows the three men – Aftab Maqbool Ahmed Chandankatti (24), Madarsab Mohammed Isaaq Mandakki (23) and Samiullah Lalanavar (23) — waiting outside the couple's room, barging in and assaulting them. One of the accused can be heard asking the couple to open the door in the pretext of checking if there was water in the room. The couple answered saying that there’s water but the accused insisted on opening the door. They continuously knocked on the door until the man opened it. When the man opened the hotel door, the accused asked for his name and turned to the woman who tried to cover her face with a burqa.
The group hit the woman and she fell on the ground. The man was also assaulted. In the video the accused can be heard saying, “You want our girl huh.” They go on to assault the man, tearing his shirt while he tries to run out of the room.
A hotel staff member, who witnessed the incident, filed a complaint on January 10, outlining the accused's actions. The complaint detailed how the attackers forcibly entered the lodge, dragged the couple out of their room, and subjected them to physical assault, tearing their clothes and threatening their lives. “The group of men came to the lodge on Monday around 1pm or 2pm. They asked for the couple’s room number. They later barged into the couple’s room and assaulted them. The group also yelled - ‘You are staying here with a Hindu man, You are staying here with a Muslim woman’ and verbally abused the couple,” read the complaint.
The woman later told the media that the men who turned up at the hotel and their driver raped her. “I went to the hotel. I was sitting in the room when the men came, dragged me and took me away on a bike. They took me near a lake and beat me up. They then took me to a forest area where they raped me one after another. They put me in the car, the car driver was amongst the rapists. They later dropped me on the road and put me on the Sirsi bus,” she said.
The Hanagal police station however said that a case of rape has not been booked yet as the woman had not filed a complaint. The police maintained that they came to know about the alleged rape through the woman’s interview to the media. After the woman records her statement with the magistrate, the sections will be altered, the police added.
The police have for now registered a case under sections 354b (Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 143 and 149 (unlawful assembly), 147 (guilty of rioting), 448 (house-trespass), 323 (deals with punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of Indian Penal Code.
The police said that all three accused – residents of Akki Alur – had been arrested. The 26-year-old woman is a resident of Sirsi in Uttara Kannada district.