On new year's eve, at around 2:30 AM, two women get off an auto-rickshaw near the Kammanahalli 5th Main Road in east Bengaluru, barely 50 metres from their home. One runs towards the house, while the other, who is paying the auto fare, gets waylaid by two men on a scooter. One of the men get off the two-wheeler, walk towards her, and starts groping her. Things get much worse. As she struggles to get away, he drags her towards the other guy on the scooter. They try to pull off her clothes.
As she struggles to defend herself, the men push her to the ground and speed away.
This disturbing video footage, reportedly sent to the Times of India, comes even as eye-witness accounts of mass molestation in Bengaluru, thought to be relatively safer for women in comparison to other Indian cities, keep pouring in from the night of 31 December. A Bangalore Mirror journalist reported how thousands of men pawed at women and passed lewd comments as the streets turned into a scene of drunken revelry.
"I don't know the people who attacked and molested me. It was bad. I realised that my wallet was missing after the incident. I guess they robbed me too," the woman told the TOI reader who sent the CCTV footage to the paper. The paper reported the incident to DCP Ajay Hilori who has got in touch with the sender of the footage.
Meanwhile, police claimed they have found "credible" evidence of molestation and registered an FIR.
As the incidents drew widespread outrage with no action from the police, Bengaluru's new Commissioner of Police, Praveen Sood through a series of tweets, said his team was working on the case silently.
As promised we have found credible evidence repeat credible evidence in a case of wrongful confinement, molestation and attempt to rob.— Praveen Sood IPS (@CPBlr) January 3, 2017
We have taken action by registering a FIR. Investigation is in progress. Police is working.... though silently.— Praveen Sood IPS (@CPBlr) January 3, 2017
Stating that enquiry is underway by an officer of DCP rank, he has said that they have gone through the feeds from 45 cameras on MG road, and unedited video is available with police.
The incidents happened even as 1,500 police personnel had been deployed to control the crowds. Police had earlier said that no one had come forward to file a complaint about the incident.
"If any lady lodges a complaint of molestation that took place on December 31 night, the police will not waste even a minute in registering a case and launch a probe," Sood had tweeted on January 2, adding even without a complainant if police finds credible evidence of molestation, a case will be registered suo motu without waiting. Sood took over as the City Police Commissioner from N S Megharikh, on January 1.
Earlier, Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara drew fierce criticism for dismissing the incidents as routine, while Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi shifted the blame on women.