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Karnataka Man Forced To Walk Around In A Skirt As Mob Justice For Allegedly Molesting A Woman

When you think you are serving justice for women, but actually missing the point.

17/07/2017 10:55 AM IST | Updated 17/07/2017 11:03 AM IST
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A young man looking sad while sitting on the ground with his head on his hands

A man in Karnataka, accused of holding the hand of the daughter of his cousin in an inebriated state, was made to wear a skirt, garlanded with slippers, and shave off half his hair and moustache before being paraded in Bijapur district in Karnataka.

The News Minute reported that the incident happened on 12 July, after which Shankar Rathod was paraded all the way from his home to the village square, accompanied by beating of drums.

The mob act of public shaming happened after Rathod allegedly held his cousin, Umaraj Rathod's daughter's hand in a drunken state when he was about to leave following dinner. The Devarahippani Police told TNM that Umaraj accused Shankar of trying to molest his daughter.

Both Umaraj and Shankar have lodged counter FIRs of molestation and harassment.

The incident again brought to light the deep lines of patriarchy that divide Indian society. The irony of shaming a man for molesting a woman, by making him wear a woman's clothes, perhaps eluded the bloodthirsty mob, but in a country where aggressive masculinity is encouraged, it's nothing uncommon.

Men are taught at a very young age that to be called a 'woman' is the worst possible shaming to suffer at the hands of their peers — enforcing somehow the view that women are the inferior of the sexes. Men and many women regularly shame weakness in men as "effeminate" and urge them to "wear bangles".

Writes Piyasree Dasgupta, for HuffPost India: "Lalu Prasad Yadav, the knight-in-sexist-armour no one needs, pulled up BJP leader Giriraj Singh for insulting Sonia Gandhi. How? By recommending that he be made to wear bangles. And after Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched by a crazed mob, a very enraged Markandey Katju decided to scold the Supreme Court by telling them to wear bangles. And fellow bangle-wearer Smriti Irani had apparently urged former prime minister Manmohan Singh to don bangles if he failed to act against Pakistan."

This isn't the first instance of vigilante justice. Mob attacks have steadily seen a rise, forcing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to repeatedly appeal not to take the law into own hands. There have been several instances of mob killings on suspicion of carrying, slaughtering and consuming beef. Last year, a thief, newly out on bail, was beaten to death by villagers in Mangaluru.

A mob in Bengaluru allegedly stripped a Tanzanian girl suspecting her of running over and killing a 35-year-old man in Hesaraghatta. Mob violence had even prompted countrywide 'Not In My Name' protests.

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