First they were arrested for the mere offence of partying in a farmhouse and put in jail. Then they were accused of consuming drugs without any trace of evidence. But their woes did not end there. Even though 58 of the 101 persons were granted bail on Monday, they could not walk out of the jail due to procedural issues. So two nights in a row in the jail house for the sin of wanting to dance and, maybe, drink in a city that doesn’t know the meaning of ‘fun’ anymore.
Though the police failed to recover any drugs from the farmhouse, the police on Monday — much like on Sunday — continued to maintain it was indeed a rave party. The blood-samples results of the arrested are yet to come from the Forensic Science Laboratory.
The police had raided party being hosted at a farmhouse called ‘Padma Thota’ near Big Banyan tree in Chunchanakuppe near Tavarekere in the early hours of Sunday. The farm is owned by Ramakrishnaiah, who had been private secretary to Siddaramaiah, when he was deputy chief minister. The police raided the place after receiving complaints from the locals and the beat police about the party. Though the police could not find any drugs at the party, they seized liquor, sound and music systems along with several vehicles.
1) If the farmhouse was rented out for party with the owner collecting stipulated fee from every participant, why was the owner, who violated the law by indulging in a commercial activity, not arrested?
2) Do authorities suggest no private party can be held at all in Bangalore and its vicinity?
3) Why call it the farmhouse party a rave when drugs were not found?
4) Why arrest those who attended the party instead of shutting down the party and sending people home, as used to be the norm earlier whenever there were complaints about noisy parties?
5) What is the definition of ‘scantily’ dressed? Are short skirts and spaghetti straps indecent? If so, how are these, and far more, being allowed in Kannada movies? Why is women’s clothing such a big issue these days when serious violations against women go unnoticed and unchecked?
6) Innocent until proven guilty has become guilty until proven innocent; isn’t that a travesty of the judicial system?
For the full report, click on:
Police action smacks of moral policing
Moral policing was visible once again in Karnataka — and this time, it was the cops who were indulging in it — as over the 100 young partygoers in Bangalore suffered the mortification of spending a night in police custody.
In a fresh blow to India’s claims to being a liberal democracy, these revellers were subjected on Sunday to blood and urine tests even after the police had not found a trace of narcotic drugs or any other evidence of drug consumption at the venue.
The attempt to nail them on the charge of obscenity smacks of highhandedness. For Sec 294 IPC, which imposes imprisonment up to three months, applies only when somebody “does any obscene act in any public place” or “sings, recites or utters any obscene songs, ballad or words, in or near any public place.”
Even if those partygoers are found to have rented the farmhouse, it is debatable whether the party falls into the category of a public place. The police can’t barge into a private party and haul up people.
The police rounded up all party-goers under Section 36 of the Karnataka Excise Act dealing with illegal sale of liquor. Though the charge of illegal sale can normally be made only against the organizer or host, the police arrested guests as well on the ground that it was a contributory party where all of them had paid for the liquor.
For the full report on that, click on:
Further, according to a relative, the whole raid episode is a political conspiracy. Though he was not willing to divulge more information about it, he says the raid was conducted not just for the nuisance factor but to settle scores. He had spent the entire day in front of prison coordinating with the lawyers for his friends’ bail.
For the full report on that, click on:
Excise laws prone to abuse
Excise laws are prone to abuse as they fix unrealistically low limits on the amount of liquor that can be stored at home (no more than four bottles, for instance, under the Uttar Pradesh law). If somebody is throwing a party at home, he has to get permission from the excise department. Though all accused got bail on Monday, they remain under the threat of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. If the blood test turns out to be positive in the case of any of them, the police will then be empowered to book such persons under section 27 of NDPS Act. Those found to have consumed cocaine, morphine or heroin are liable to face a maximum penalty of one year jail and those found to have consumed milder drugs can be imprisoned up to six months.
WHY OWNER NOT ARRESTED?
The lingering question on every one’s mind is: Why are the farmhouse owners not arrested? Is it political clout as the owner Ramakrishnaiah was the private secretary of the then deputy chief minister Siddaramaiah? All that the police said was if they found that the farmhouse was rented for commercial purposes with the knowledge of Ramakrishnaiah, then they would initiate action against him. Ramakrishnaiah’s son reportedly had rented it out for the party organizers. But what is puzzling is that if it was a commercial party, how did the owners rent it out? Or did they not know about this?
For that report, click on:
The Siddaramaiah connection gives credence to the theory of political conspiracy mentioned by one of the relatives. If true, in the pursuit of their political games, did the rivals have to choose this route, in the process, jeopardising the lives of 100 odd youth who were only upto some harmless fun? Also, this provides another very good reason why policing has to be distanced from the ruling party as recommended by the Soli Sorabjee committee, on the implementation of which the state government has been dragging its feet - check: http://bangalore.praja.in/blog/murali772/2008/10/30/police-accountability-authority
The above apart, we are governed by so many rules, many of them handed down from the Britisher's times and having no relevance whatsoever in today's world. All the same, they have remained in the statute, and can be pulled out whenever the government/ police wants to nail somebody for whatever reasons. The police, under the present BJP government, by its own acts of commissions and ommissions, is seen to be more prone to mis-use of the laws than their proper and effective use to bring about societal harmony.
Very much like a person has responded in the Home Minister's blog on the subject, "police should be spending their resources in preventing bigger crimes like theft, robbery, homicides, crime against women, rather than spending their energy on these petty issues and acquiring much-wanted spotlight from the media. Those people are hardworking taxpayers and students who wanted to have a good time. If anyone should be really worried about their doings, it is their parents".
Even with being a BJP sympathiser, I am beginning to get the jitters as to where they are taking the state, and where they will take the country if they come to power at the centre. Kandhamal has been the party's undoing in Orissa. The state government needs to do a lot more if Mangalore/ Bangalore is not to become its undoing in the Karnataka.