The state deputy convener of Sri Ram Sene, Prasad Attavar, had claimed responsibility for the attack.
Nine years after the country's conscience was shaken as it witnessed a mob beating up young women outside a pub in the coastal city of Mangaluru, about 350km from Bengaluru, a local court on Monday acquitted all 30 people involved in the attack.
At 4 pm on Jan 24, 2009, about 40 people allegedly from Sri Rama Sene barged into the Amnesia pub in Balmatta and targeted a group of women who had placed a lunch order.
It depicted several men allegedly dragging women at the pub by their hair, slapping and roughing them up and accusing them of "loose morals".
After vandalising the pub, the activists allegedly assaulted the women who were dressed in western clothes and seen dancing to the loud music.
The Judicial Magistrate First Class court acquitted Sri Ram Sene leader Pramod Muthalik and 25 others. The accused were represented by senior advocate Asha Nayak and Vinod Pal. The Citizens Forum for Mangalore Development are severely disappointed by the wholesale acquittal of all the accused in the Amnesia Pub Attack of 2009. "This outcome is entirely unexpected and we had been hoping for the strictest punishment for the guilty as per the law", the forum said in a statement on Monday.
Muthalik, who was at the court when the verdict was pronounced, later told reporters he had always maintained his innocence as he was not even in the city when the incident took place. "During the time of the attack, I was in Maharashtra and returned two days later".
"The BJP wanted to defame me". If any crime is committed by the BJP in Mangaluru, will the police arrest party president BS Yeddyurappa? "I regret the attack", he said but added that the Sri Rama Sene is opposed to the pub and bar culture. "We had already asked forgiveness from the victims after those activists present at the pub had beaten women, but our fight has been against pub, bar and club culture", he said.
The Judge acquited them due to lack of evidence. After the incident 70 illegal pubs were closed.
It criticised the Sri Rama Sene for celebrating the "victory" by distributing candies and bursting crackers. I am waiting for the order copy. "I will discuss with my lawyers and consider filing a defamation case", he said.
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