Bangalore: The alleged mass-scale molestation and groping of women on the New Year eve in India’s Silicon Valley, Bangalore, has put a huge question mark on the safety and security of women in India’s so-called best city. Hundreds of women were groped on the night of 31 December at Bangalore’s famed MG Marg.
In the meantime the video of the groping incidents are going viral despite very funny comments from politicians and police officials in the state. While the state home minister made the issue look very ‘usual’, a police official said that India cannot be compared to Saudi Arabia. He apparently meant that while such incidents can be stopped completely in a conservative society like Saudi Arabia, the same cannot be done in India.
The whole incident is starting to give an altogether new look to the issue of safety and security of women in India’s outsourcing and technology capital. 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.
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”.
Apparently this was not the only incident of this kind on that night. Many hundred other women too suffered the same fate. While many have refused to come forward and complain, many others have shown guts to come forward and take a stand against the humiliation that had to endure, on an otherwise a great day.
While police officials have tried to play down the entire incident, there are some other police officials who privately suggest that molestation was on an unprecedented scale. A report in Bangalore Mirror says, “some of the police personnel deployed on the streets had a different story to narrate to BM. A woman police officer deployed on Church Street had to chase away a couple of men trying to molest and strip an inebriated woman. There were at least 1,500 policemen on duty on MG Road and Brigade Road areas, according to the police department. However, the number of revellers ran into several thousands, and they clearly had the upper hand…Sources in the police department deployed on duty pointed out that the decision to extend the deadline for New Year Celebrations till 2 am also was a major cause of concern for the cops on duty.”