Bangalore’s night of shame is turning out to be a real nightmare for women who suffered enormous humiliation at the hands of revelers. Reports suggest that hundreds of women were assaulted, groped and molested on the New Year eve in Bangalore’s MG Road.
While the perpetrators of the crimes on that fateful night remain unpunished, police officials have successfully arrested two molesters and their accomplices in a case that happened the same night some ten kilometers away from MG Road.
There is no denying that there is large-scale resentment against the incidents that happened on the night of December 31. People found it unfathomable as to how hundreds of women were groped and assaulted in downtown Bangalore in the presence of large number of police personnel on duty.
In the meantime police officials claim that nothing of the sort actually happened. Praveen Sood said a review of almost 70 CCTV cameras trained on two popular streets in the city centre had shown no proof of a mass attack on women in the crowd. He told the BBC that footage used by the Indian media to allege a large-scale molestation was actually the aftermath of a melee that was forcefully broken up by police.
He went on to add, “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”.
Nonetheless many women have come forward to recount the horror of that night. Chaitali Wasnik, a well-known photographer suffered the groping herself on that fateful night. While writing in The Guardian she says, “I’m a photographer in Bangalore, so I had spent the night shooting the events and parties that were going on. I was returning from work, and had a friend with me who was kind of drunk, so I was trying to get him a cab…There are about 300 pubs on the street I was on. And the night was over, so the pubs were shut down. Thousands of people had spilled out onto the street…Suddenly two suspicious men started walking towards me. They got close, and I moved aside for them to go past…Out of nowhere one of the guys tried to grope me. I went blank, totally blank. I couldn’t understand what had happened. And then I came to my senses – this guy had just tried to grope me.
Her testimony is enough to put men to shame. Recounting her horror she goes on to add, “The next day I read about the mass molestation that had happened that night in Bangalore. I felt awful, ashamed. What leads men to do such things to women? Don’t they understand what it’s like to be groped? Don’t they have sisters, girlfriends, wives? What if it happened to them…What the politicians have been saying is disgraceful. They think girls should go out after a certain time, or wear certain clothes. In south India, people respect these leaders and if they make statements, people follow them…That means the guy who tried to grope me might get the guts to do it again to someone else”. The whole nation seems to have been ashamed, but police and politicians are not ready to accept it.