February 23, 2018

‘No evidence’ of New Year mass sex attacks in Bangalore: Police

51The police commissioner of the southern Indian city of Bangalore says there is no evidence to prove allegations of mass molestation took place on New Year’s Eve in the centre of the city.
Praveen Sood told the BBC that police officers had reviewed footage from almost 70 CCTV cameras.
But he said police were looking into isolated incidents in other parts of the city that night.
A number of women have told the media they were assaulted by groups of men.
Some have described being surrounded by unruly mobs, and being groped and harassed.
‘Melee’
Praveen Sood said police had responded to footage from a member of the public who said a woman had been attacked by two men on a motorbike near his home.
“We had a look at it. We saw it was quite a clear case of serious molestation. We didn’t wait, we didn’t even bother with whom the victim is. We didn’t ask her, we wanted to protect her identity. We have registered a criminal case,” he said.
But, Mr Sood said, the alleged attacks in the centre of Bangalore never took place. The incidents are said to have occurred in the MG road area as a crowd of 10,000 people gathered there to see in the New Year on Saturday.
He said the footage being used by the media to make allegations of mass molestation was actually that of the melee that had resulted from a baton charge by police who were trying to disperse the crowds.
“People ran, there were a lot of girls there. There was panic, there was a melee, they got separated, they were crying… so that 30 seconds of confusion is being projected as a mass molestation. I categorically say that nothing of that sort has happened,” he said.
Six people held on Wednesday were detained over an incident in a different part of the city, he said.
Mr Sood said that despite a public appeal, no one had come forward to record a complaint of molestation or harassment.
He said, however, that he had seen some women telling the media that they were touched inappropriately and that the police were ready to treat those statements as complaints and begin an investigation.
One woman, a marketing professional who asked to be identified only as Pooja, told the BBC that she was assaulted both in a bar and as she walked to meet a friend.
Even when she formed a circle with another group of girls to try and walk to safety, “there were guys who were trying to touch here and there”, she said.
“There was not a single face you could make out or who was doing it,” she said, pointing out how difficult it would be to file a complaint.
Another woman, photographer Chaitali Wasnik, told the BBC she was groped in another part of Bangalore on New Year’s Eve.
She said a man approached her and tried to grab her breasts, but ran away when she fought back.
“I want the girls to know that you can come forward and speak it out, whatever you have faced,” she told the BBC. “You don’t have to be scared.”

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