Mangaluru man assaulted by mob for ‘being gay’: 3 arrested

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Mangaluru police have arrested three individuals, a day after the police took-up a Suo Motu case against a mob for attacking Daiva Patri Rajesh*. The mob assaulted Rajesh alleging that he is gay and was in a sexual relationship with another local resident. A Daiva Patri is a performer who invokes holy spirits during rituals.

The arrests were made after police officials at Barke police station in the city took note of videos shared widely on social media of a man being assaulted by a mob and registered a Suo-Motu case.

According to the police, the allegations by the mob is of little significance since the Supreme Court has struck down provisions of Section 377 in 2018. “The male partner of Rajesh was a major, so no case can be made against him. Whereas, the three individuals have gravely assaulted Rajesh – for which we have taken action,” a police official said.

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In the two videos, one of which was 1:11 minutes and another 4:31 minutes, the mob speaking in Tulu alleged that Rajesh Poojary was indulging in sexual acts with a man and assaulted him. The victim Rajesh Poojary, a Daiva Patri is seen being questioned by the crowd. He was also dragged by the crowd and repeatedly assaulted by them. The crowd while questioning (inaudible) Rajesh, hurled abuses and attempts to tear off his shirt.

Taking note of his long hair, the crowd initially brought an ordinary razor blade to shave-off his long hair, usually displayed by Daiva Patris, to which a lone woman (Rajesh’s mother) is seen pleading the crowd to stop. She is heard saying, “Don’t chop his hair”, while blocking her son’s head.

However, the crowd paid no heed to her appeals. An unidentified voice in the crowd is heard saying, “You go back, he thinks he can do all that to a boy and get away. What if something had gone wrong”. Another voice is heard telling the woman “What if, someone had done something to your own daughter. Go on, cut the hair,” they told each other.

The crowd, clearly inexperienced in cutting hair, gave up on the idea of shaving Rajesh’s hair with the ordinary razor blade, then uses a small sickle (used ceremoniously to cut beetle nut) to chop the pony hair, while ordering Rajesh to remove the bangle (worn by a Daiva Patri). Few in the crowd were seen discouraging the angry mob from assaulting Rajesh.

Meanwhile, Mangaluru City Police Commissioner Sandeep Patil told the media that police are investigating a Suo-Motu case. “Irrespective of any allegation, nobody authorized to assault another individual. The case has been registered at Barke Police station, the investigation will follow,” he said.

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