The image of India’s IT capital Bangalore as a safe city has received another blow with a video emerging on Wednesday of two men molesting a woman as she walked home alone after New Year celebrations.
The footage emerges after drunk men grope women at Church Street near the trendy Brigade Road area.
The video was captured at 2.30am on Sunday by a CCTV camera installed at a house in Kammanahalli and released to media on Wednesday after the house owner gave the footage to the victim, her friends and the police.
The video shows the girl, who was just 50 metres from her home and two men on a scooter stopping near her. The man riding pillion gropes and drags her towards the motorbike. As she slaps the attacker and keeps resisting his attempts to abduct her, the man pushes her to the ground and the men on the scooter flee.
Close-ups of the CCTV footage show a few people were watching the scene from the intersection at Kammanahalli 5th Main Road, but none came to help the woman.
Police are trying to identify the accused based on the registration details on the scooter.
Two hours before this incident, drunk men groped women celebrating New Year at Church Street near the trendy Brigade Road area as some 1,500 police personnel stood nearby. Later, the police used batons to disperse the unruly revellers.
What shocked millions of Indians following two incidents on TV were the remarks made by Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara and Uttar Pradesh lawmaker Abu Azmi.
Commenting on the Church Street incident, Parameshwara blamed it on the western mindset of youth, saying, “These things do happen [at crowded places].”
Azmi added fuel to the fire by saying women should not go out alone and they should cover themselves and follow their own culture instead of copying the West.
“Women are like sugar and men are like ants,” he said.
Women’s rights groups condemned Parameshwara’s “insensitive” remarks and demanded his resignation.
“I don’t think Western dress draws the attention of men toward women. Even women in Indian-style saris and long-sleeve blouses are often groped. I blame it on the mindset of men,” said Odil D, a media professional in Bangalore.
Lalitha Kumaramangalam of the National Commission for Women wanted to know whether Indian men are so weak that when they see a woman in western dress, they lose control of themselves.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, who heads a biotech firm in Bangalore, described the incident as shameful, an aberration which should never happen again. She wanted the police to catch the criminals by using the video footage.
Parameshwara said he was extremely pained that he was quoted out of context.
Besides Parameshwara, Bangalore city police were also blamed for its failure to ensure peaceful New Year celebrations.
People wanted to know why the police failed to file a first information report even three days after the incident. The victims did not come forward to file a complaint, but the police could have examined the footage of about 60 CCTV cameras installed near the scene of the celebrations, they argued.
In a tweet on Tuesday night, city police commissioner Praveen Sood said police had found evidence on the Brigade Road molestation case and a report had been filed.
It is not clear whether the woman assaulted in Kammanahalli has filed a complaint with the police.