By Ila Ananya
At a Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) council meeting yesterday, 29th May, three corporators, Asha Suresh of the Congress, Mamata Vasudev of the BJP, and Manjula Narayanaswamy of the JD(S), accused Congress MLA Munirathna Naidu of harassment.
The Hindu reports that what followed at the meeting was a lot of commotion — when nobody responded to the harassment allegations that they kept bringing up, the women tried to drink phenyl in protest, forcing Mayor G Padmavathi to adjourn the session.
Most recently, the harassment allegations came to light when Manjula Narayanaswamy was manhandled at a public event by Munirathna Naidu’s supporters on 19th May. A couple of news channels aired the video clip, in which it’s obvious that Corporator Manjula was being attacked, and her sari being pulled at. According to The News Minute, she hadn’t been allowed to go up on stage during the public event, and had been attacked after she complained that she wasn’t being allowed to, even though her name was on the invitation. She was then gagged, her sari was pulled at, and then beaten. “I was shocked when they pulled my sari and tried to disrobe me in public. What was more shocking and sad is that no one stopped them or even tried to help me, when women supporters of Munirathna assaulted me,” she reportedly said.
Times of India reports an additional angle — that Corporator Manjula had been there to point out irregularities in the ward under Munirathna, who stopped her by asking her what she was doing at a Congress programme and then asking his supporters to attack her. Others, like Asha Suresh and Mamata Vasudev say that Munirathna would constantly harass them, without allowing them to continue with their work in the ward.
What seems strange is that nobody has been willing to look into the issue. It’s been 10 days since it happened, but neither of the three women complainants seem to have got any response — and nothing came from this meeting either. Oddly, most news reports on the case (and there are only a few), seem to constantly accuse the women of derailing the BBMP meeting, and being unwilling to listen to what the Mayor had to say. But why has nothing been done yet?