Bangalore mass molestation: 'Credible evidence' of Indian women being groped on New Year's Eve

Police Commissioner responds after a media backlash about the force's initial handling of the mob incident captured on CCTV

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The Independent Online

Police in the Indian city of Bangalore say they have “credible evidence” that numerous women were groped during New Year's Eve celebrations and they will use CCTV footage to pursue the alleged offenders.

Urging victims to come forward Commissioner Praveen Sood said that there were 45 cameras on the two roads where the majority of the offences took place.

“As promised, we have found credible evidence, repeat credible evidence, in a case of wrongful confinement, molestation and attempt to rob,” he wrote on Twitter. 

“We have taken action by registering a FIR (First Incident Report). Investigation is in progress. Police is working …though silently (sic)."

His post seemed to signal a change attitude as Commissioner Sood initially suggested that journalists were concocting or exaggerating the story. 

He said: "The media is making it look like molestation was taking place by blurring the faces (of the crowd) but no such thing was happening."

This was despite numerous pictures of distraught women rushing out of crowds and seeking help from police appearing on both local and social media shortly after the attacks in the city, which is the capital of India’s southern Karnataka state.

Local newspaper, the Bangalore Mirror described it as a "brazen, mass molestation of women". 

There was further uproar when the state's home minister, G Parameshwara, told a TV channel that such incidents “do happen” but blamed women for dressing like westerners.

Criticising the remarks, India’s National Commission for Women chief Lalitha Kumaramangalam called them "unacceptable and regrettable."

"I want to ask this Minister, are Indian men so pathetic and weak that when they see a woman in Western clothes on a day of revelry, they get out of control,” she said. 

Some of the victims have now spoken about their ordeals in the media.  

Manisha Gupta told the Bangalore Mirror that she was groped on the way to a train station despite her friends trying to protect her.  

"It was impossible to catch one person in that moving crowd," she said. "There were a number of girls there who were in a similar situation. I saw a few of them crying and running for help. It seemed futile. The police were vastly outnumbered - like 20-25 to 1. There was no cheer; women were either worried or scared. It really was mass molestation. I wish the police had managed the situation better."

Another woman, who gave her name as Pooja, who told the BBC: “People were pushing and shoving, touching, grabbing, groping and everything was happening on that street.

“It was not only to me. It was happening to other girls too. They were all scared.

“I felt helpless. Although I have hands and legs and I could abuse and slap them, I could not do anything. I didn't know who was touching me and groping me.”

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