Keenan Santos RIP

Imagine this. You are out with your partner for dinner. After dinner, you are standing outside the restaurant when a drunken lout, passing by, falls on you, intentionally. Tries to paw you. What would you do? You would expect your partner to take up cudgels for you, to help you fight the man molesting you off. You would expect him to step up, intervene and get the rowdies to go their way. You wouldn’t mind if it evolved into fisticuffs..

What if this happened, and the goons come back with three autorickshaws full of men with swords, knives and sticks? And what if those men attack your partner, stab him so horrifically, multiple times in the abdomen so his intestines fall out, and then make a getaway? What would your reaction be if you knew this was something that could happen?

Precisely this happened in Mumbai over the weekend. Keenan Santos died, killed by a group of men he had absolutely no enmity with, purely because he objected one drunken chappie falling over, and getting fresh with his girlfriend while they stood outside a restaurant after having dinner there.–one-injured-in-scuffle-over-eve-teasing/863907/

While eyewitnesses claimed three autorickshaws filled with armed men were responsible for the attack, the police say that only four men were involved in the attack.

Among those arrested for the attack include an 18 year old. Which makes it all the more worrying. Who are these people who sit in wait to be called to arms, to attack someone they have no personal enmity with. Nor for any personal gain. Who are these men who are ready to kill, to go to jail, possibly for life, over something that doesn’t involve them at all? Who are these men who believe it is their birthright to molest women and no one should ever protest, or raise a voice? Either that or risk getting killed.

What would you do now, as a woman? Would you expect your partner to stand up for you and risk getting killed? Or would you rather downplay the incident hoping it doesn’t spiral out of control? Would you prefer that he stayed silent, and didn’t risk getting stabbed to death? This incident raises so many questions. About the safety of women in Mumbai, a city which has been considered the safest in India for women. About a man defending his woman. About a woman’s right to walk the roads without being considered fair game for any passing lout. About the sense of ‘she’s asking for it, because she’s out late at night with men.”

What are your reactions to this episode. What would you do? What do you think is causing this? Where are we going wrong as a society? Do post your comments.

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66 Responses to Keenan Santos RIP

  1. Vidyut says:

    Shit happens. Hideous shit happened. The important thing now is to make examples of these perpetrators. Turn Keenan Santos into a learning milestone as society, police, government and judiciary.

    • Thanks for your comment, Vidyut.

      Yes, the Police, Judiciary, Government and Society have to act together and severely punish the culprits. Or else we would be surrounded by more questions than answers as pointed out by this post.

  2. Benita says:

    Do we always need to have someone innocent like Keenan Santos to be killed to realise and wake up??? Can’t we take steps to protect the women of our society from day one.What kind of examples will such incidents set? Mumbai a city which was once so safe all of a sudden now seems to be so unsafe. We need to try and understand why the level of violence and sexual abuse against women in all forms remains so high?? Is it because of a lack of legal measures to stop it, or a willingness among some women to tolerate it? I just hope the mumbaikars don’t neglect this issue and stand strong to give Keenan Santos justice..!!

    • It is unfortunate that the victims as well as those who try to protect their interests are traumatized even more by a section of society. And then there are those who can stoop to new lows – like killing this innocent man.
      Change has to be brought in – and that includes all of us. It should not wait for another Keenan Santos to be worked for..

  3. Alveera says:

    It should not happen that the murderers will be left after few months. We want justice. What were the people around doing at that time. If the people around would have helped Keenan & his friends i guess this would have not happened.

  4. Natasha Netto says:

    what rubbish is all this… y cant women jst b safe evn at dat part of d nite???
    wat r d police doin??? r dey evn alive or dead??
    is it wrong 4 a boyfrnd 2 protect his girlfrnd???
    2mrw it cud b any1 of us… its high tym dat we stand up 4 r rites.

  5. Nisha says:

    The part that really scares me is that this is not even talked about outside Mumbai. I haven’t seen the tabloids taking this up or the TV news channels. Since these are the mediums through which mass awareness can be spread, I haven’t seen extensive coverage of this issue. Certainly message and outrage is being expressed through blogs etc. but I am yet to come across one person in Delhi who knows about Keenan. Everybody is like, yeah, did that happen? I am not sure if this is deliberate and but since there is no talking about this issue, civil society in Delhi is at least mildly reacting to this or actually not reacting at all. Sad.

  6. Benita says:

    Well that’s how the political and legal system work in India. Rana himself said he would be out free within a few months, which clearly shows who these goons are backed up by – our very own politicians or even a good bribe could free them easily. The problem lies within ourselves we wait for such incidents to take place to wake up and everytime it does we start making it a big noise and then soon completlely forget about it.
    Rightly said Alveera – What were the people doing around?? The cops now say they were just four men when everyone around there seen they were 13-14 of them. This shows how corrupt and slow is our system. I found just some people show their anger and reaction against Keenan Santos. We need to fight and stand up strong togather as ONE. All i can say is “Shame on mumbai!”

    • Sadly these contradictory statements weaken the case and we would be left with nothing but a yet another NO ONE KILLED Keenan case. If people are not willing to come out and protest, it is only because of the fear instilled in them.

  7. Charlotte Mani says:

    Just goes to show what a city Mumbai is! They talk about unity & all sorts of garbage when innocent people are being brutally murdered on the street what are the onlookers doing!!!??? Just looking I suppose! We lost a beautiful person and as someone who knew keenu personally I cannot believe he is gone and that’s because he fought bravely for the well being of someone else! The police as usual are as useless as ever! With their 1942 guns that probably dont even work! And absolutely undertrained to do the job they are supposed to be doing! I think the people and community should make a big deal about this to bring justice to the innocent! I think these murderers should be hanged or beaten the same way they did to the innocent boys! And who do they think they are anyway???!!! A barber? A sweeper? What is their aukaad ???!! This case must be taken to the highest person and should fought
    for! We should post a fight for justice forum and make sure the murderers never see the light of day again!

    • Unfortunately almost every corner of the country is filled with similar stories where innocent men and women are abused, raped, molested and killed mercilessly. What Keenan did was a great act of courage and integrity. That he had to die for it is extremely unfortunate and we all should be fighting for getting him justice.

  8. Sakthi says:

    Reminds me of the poor Sarikha Shah who was harrased and died (not suicide) because of eve teasing in Chennai. The reason I remember that here is, it became such a controversy in Chennai that it forced the authorities to pass a much stricter eve teasing law and police were shamed into acting in future cases. Similar outrage is needed here, again where is the media?

  9. Lalita Raman says:

    It is important that street harassment & eve teasing are considered an offense. India had legislations of violence against women but the authorities don’t implement this. 

    We have to strive together to ensure that the oppressors ate brought to task. Street harassment & eve trading are common in India & a lot of cities worse than Mumbai. Women traveling by Trains face this on a daily basis. 

    Both men & women need to raise their voice against this form of violence. Police need to be present atleast in highly vulnerable areas. Offenders have to be prosecuted. 

    • Well said Lalita. Law keepers should ensure that the streets are kept safe for women. We should take care and be sensitive towards victims and put responsibility of the crime on the culprit. The offenders have to be severely punished. Only then can we think of ‘safe’ cities.

  10. Swati says:

    Very unfortunate! This reminds of a relatively safe era Nagpurians had tried to bring, when we were growing up. If any girl went to the police with a complaint of eve-teasing/street harassment, they used to try and locate the offenders and punish them duly.. and guess what the punishment was.. shaving the guys heads and letting them go..
    dont know if it is still being continued but back then, we went fearless out of our homes..

  11. Locke says:

    Uneducated low life dogs who deserve the pathetically barren life that lies before them.

    India, will you forget so soon? Will you light some candles and go home? Will they be out in a few months, as they so confidently proclaimed, and another leaf off our heroic tree just falls and burns, forgotten before the smouldering stops?

    The public have the power to remember. The public have the power to forget. The judicial system will go home for the night, and hope that no one makes them work in the morning.

    If nothing else, rest in peace Keenan, for doing what others wouldn’t have the guts to. If tomorrow the media moves on, at least know that you’ve kindled something in the hearts of many, and perhaps changed us in ways even we wouldn’t realise.

    • They are so confident and fearless because there haven’t been too many examples for them to realize that their offense is indeed punishable.

      When the authorities fail to fulfill their duties, it is the responsibility of citizens to try and wake them up through their movements and protests.

      Thanks for your comment, Locke..

  12. Smallsquirrel says:

    Why is it even called Eve Teasing? Call it what it is…full blown sexual harassment. The language we use surrounding these kind of incidents is important! It is sad that happened and even more upsetting that it is not being reported in the media outside mumbai.

    I know that over the course of the two years that I lived in Bangalore I experienced everything from innocent (albeit annoying, given that I am married) flirtation to outright sexual harassment. One man even propositioned me outside a hospital when I was 8 months pregnant. It was disgusting and frightening and I screamed at him until the guards came running.

    I don’t know what can be done, but that shouldn’t stop the effort being made. I applaud your part in that effort.

    • Thank you for your comment! And you are right.. it cannot be termed as just ‘EveTeasing’ when it causes so much harm to the victim’s mental and physical health. Even the law understands and recognizes that.
      The best way to start and contribute is by speaking up against it as and when it happens – whether with ourselves or with those around us.

  13. Karishma says:

    How come every time such an incident takes place, cctv cameras turn out to not be working? Always. Why are there cctv cameras if owners do not keep them running? Its always either not working, turned off or have no tapes. Every nook of the city should be covered by “working” cameras, and surrendered to authorities who should catch all offenders, however serious, whether a case is filed or not. This is about humanity already, not politics.

  14. Neil Shah says:

    today i looked Rana in the eye at the police station and he looked back , cold as cold as his heart, i grew up with Kenan, he was a brother to me,this is just un acceptable, they cant get away with this

    • The perpetrators of such barbaric crimes have no soul, Neil…And I hope he gets severe punishment for his cruel act.

    • ANTON says:


      • Nisha says:

        Anton. can you please post this on the facebook group in memory of Keenan Santos. We are a 20k strong member group. We need to know what they are doing with the culprits. Any information, any follow up would be good. We need to create pressure on the cops, the media and the politicians to get them punished. And 4 arrests cannot, will never account, for the 13 odd people who gathered together on Rana’s call. That group is missing out on such details. Please share this there too. Thanks.

  15. pooja says:

    It is so very upsetting for the mumbaikars to know that their safest city is now becoming unsafe especially for the women ……
    i came to know about an incident that took place on the very same day , it took place at the vry same place …:( 😦 that place is just 5 min away from that location…..
    and the reason for that fight was the same ..that guy was attacked with hockey sticks and now is in coma…this incident is not known to many of the people….
    it is very important for Kenan as wel as that boy to get justice ..
    otherwise it will be proved that mumbai is now very unsafe for the women to be around…:( 😦 😦

  16. Dave says:

    Death penality should be imposed immediately on such rogues as not everyone can afford to carry a licensed weapon to protect his loved one while on the move. It’s a shame on the local justice system that such incidents are not being tackled immediately.

  17. Samia Haque says:

    It is sad that the authorities after knowing that there were a dozen men responsible for the death of Keenan, they have taken action (or should i say that we are waiting for them to act) against 4 people.
    The saddest part is with the way the Indian System works, these men may breathe free for a long time before any stringent action is taken against them ..
    I wish a brutal death for those involved in the crime.
    I hope Keenan receives support from the entire society so that the criminals be punished as quickly as they were to kill an innocent man..
    Dear Keenan, May your soul rest in peace.. Amen

  18. Jyoti says:

    This is so unfortunate and if we keep our mouth shut then this will be our way of life, Mumbai is no less of eve teasers, only women have learnt to live with it . They know how to either be quite about it or make noise, but killing because of eve teasing, I am saddened at this state of affairs, at this state of our governance structure, this is not acceptable to me, I dont want the culprits to brag about this for the rest of their living lives, I want justice for Kenan.

    • Thanks for your comment, Jyoti. Keeping mouth shut and accepting it as a way of life has already become a norm for many of us. Speaking against it, voicing our concerns is the first way towards solving this problem.
      And yes, we want justice for Keenan.

  19. Anil D'Souza says:

    Everyday v hear n read stories about crimes happening … N da next thing you noe is dat da culprits have bailed themselves out… It’s more like goin 2 n ATM… N da crimes r taken as just another day….
    Da last thing dat v wud Want is dat people as innocent as Keenan … Die N people such as Rana go free n commit da same crimes again… N hav many more ‘keenan’ die…… Fir standin up 4 wats right….
    ….. Or v wud hav all r women or men who stand up n speak up, roam wid weapons n deliver justice on da spot…. An eye 4 an eye wud leave evry1 blind….
    To Keenan .. Although I din noe u I do nw.. To u my Respect… R.I.P.

  20. salz says:

    first of all the goons involved un this case all of them if its 4 or 15 should be hunted dawn and should be punished for the rest of their lives…
    non of them should manage to escape!
    justice at any cost for kenan santos and all the other men who have lost their lives trying to fight and defend women!

    mumbai is just getting over populated with peverts and wasted men!!!
    These kind of men should be wiped out from the city asap!

  21. salz says:

    death penalty for the muderers and life imprisonment for the rest of these acompanying them as they are all involved in this case!!!
    no one should be get away in such cases…
    sooo, that in the future no pervert and wasted men should have the balls to try out such stunts!!!

  22. Jacob issacs says:

    what if u murdered the first attacker ( id say knock the bastard out) but then too might just happen. what would be your sentence. its easier to pass judgment but for now we need to make sure the guys who killed him pay for it.

  23. Alveera says:

    Keenan was like a family to me….I hope he gets justice. We will fight for it

  24. seema says:

    Are we really such an insensitive society that we allow our innocent youth to fall prey to such antisocial elements and sit back quietly. What was Keenans mistake…that he stood up for a woman being molested. And yet nobody came to his rescue but by standing like mute spectators, people did help the culprits!

    So atleast now wake up and make sure that the culprits do not get away more emboldened to commit some more crimes. Thats the least we can do for Keenan…May his soul rest in peace.

  25. I think it is absolutely disgusting to think that someone who was standing for something right and true lost his life. He didn’t do anything wrong, just defended something he felt was right, but that ended up costing him so much more. Is force something we need to be ashamed of? Can you believe that our kids will live in a place where people treat them like this?!! I am horrified because I have friends around the same age and to think that they might come across a goon like that, what happens?? Who protects them?!
    Being a man (IE having a dick) doesn’t give you consent to harass a woman, it doesn’t mean you can treat women badly and it especially does not give anyone permission to think that they can GET AWAY WITH IT… What a waste – of space and oxygen. Why put up with such scum.
    RESPECT to Keenan and his friends, I hope he gets his justice by everyone continuing to be aware of what’s happened and the implications of this on his family and their lives. I cannot even imagine the hurt and frustration that they must be going through right now. Prayers and love to them.

  26. Naser Firfire says:

    hang one of them to death , india gotta thing about capital punishment its high time now… life for life should be the situation and not life for free bird…. that dose not work anymore mates

  27. Lolita says:

    Kenan & Reuben, you died for what u believed in. I pray you get justice. May the Lord strengthen your families & both of you enjoy eternal peace.

  28. Jessy says:

    Where is the Media? We need you now more. Stop those stupid debates, it’s just waste of time on some of them. Wake-up Media and do something for Keenan. Let not the culprits go scot-free.

  29. Ekhtasd says:

    People like Rana should be hanged in public so that it becomes a lesson for other ruffians and they would think hundred times before harrasing any woman…..Not only Mumbai but in any city, a woman has the right to stay safe. Strict actions should be taken against such brutes like Rana nd his gang. Keenan was very brave and we all salute that he stood tall to protect his girlfriend. Looking forward to seek justice for Keenan and Ruben.

  30. Pingback: From Team VAWAM. | Violence Against Women 2011

  31. Joseph Abraham says:

    I am so proud to say that we still have some humanity in this world as show by Keenan and Reuben. They believed in compassion, love and the most important of all respect for others life. I appeal to all those people to saw this crime committed and the bystanders to come out and give evidence so protect our society and give justice to these young full of live brave hearts

  32. Naser Firfire says:

    by prayers and good wishes people do not come back to life mates…..
    they cannot hear us anymore we gotta think about , others facing this… teenagers have a charm of living their life-they should not feel insecure on the road anytime of the day…just like a free bird always…
    A strong body has gotta think about a concrete and a solid action that shocks a person before killing or raping a girl….

  33. amy says:

    as proud as i am to no der are people who respect ppli am sad to say we live in a place where everything is done for the moment kenan is just one of those who stood for what was right and to face consequences beyond imagination we need to get rid of alot of things today but none of it happens overnight we need to strive and achieve. may his soul rest in peace as he is ina better place than any of us .

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