Bengaluru: Facing heat over their alleged inaction, the Bengaluru Police have now arrested at least four suspects in connection with the alleged molestation of a young woman in city’s Kammanahalli locality in the early hours of the New Year.
The city police have also identified the main accused as Leno and said that search for the other two accused is still on, according to News18.com.
Police said one of the four detained was believed to be involved in the incident that took place around 2.30 am on January 1 in Kammanahalli, a middle-class locality home to a large number of migrants, many of them students in Bangalore’s tech colleges.
The four suspects were detained from an east Bangalore neighbourhood after a shocking CCTV footage emerged showing two men on a scooter groping and molesting a lone woman in a dimly lit lane in the early hours of the New Year.
Separately, several women were also allegedly molested, groped and attacked by a riotous crowd on the night of December 31 at the city’s MG Road and Brigade road, where people converged in large numbers to welcome the arrival of 2017.
The Bengaluru Police had earlier denied that any sexual harassment had taken place during the late-night celebrations. However, on Wednesday, police officer Hemant Nimbalkar said at least six men were detained after several video clips of women being attacked by groups of men spread on social media.
The police had earlier claimed that no one had come forward to file a complaint about the incidents.
Since then, at least one woman has come forward to speak of how she was molested on Saturday night.
Others have said that they saw women being molested or groped, and that revellers were making lewd remarks, even as the state government said that more than 1,500 police personnel had been deployed to control the crowds.
The young woman who came forward, Chaitali Wasnick, told a news channel that she was heading home at around 1:30 am when two men approached her, making her suspicious.
“So I just moved aside, I let them pass,” she said, adding that one man began to grope her.“I did not have any idea that he’d do that, so I went totally blank,” Wasnick said, adding that no one came to her help her and that there were no police personnel around.
As Bangalore newspapers published images of several women who allegedly had been groped or attacked, the state’s Home Minister, G Parameshwara, criticised young women for “copying the Westerners, not only in their mindset, but even in their dressing.”
“These kind of things do happen,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
Kammanahalli is 10km from central Bangalore’s party hub of MG Road-Brigade Road where several women were groped and molested by drunken hoodlums two hours earlier, around 12.30 am.
No arrests have been made in this case despite CCTV footage and complaints from some of the women.
City police chief Praveen Sood said the Kammanahalli footage was “credible evidence”.
The moment we received the credible evidence (the footage), we decided to file a case. We are sure of arresting the culprits soon.” Eight more men were rounded up but were let off after questioning.
The footage, of over a minute, shows two women getting out of an auto on Kammanahalli Main Road. While one moves out of the camera’s coverage area, the other is seen walking to the poorly lit lane.
Within seconds, the two men arrive on a scooter, one of them gets off and grabs the woman. He then drags her to the rider who, too, joins in the act and flings her to the ground when she resists.
The attackers flee the scene after some time, the horror captured on the CCTV camera located outside a house.
The owner of the house handed over the tape to the police, who have filed a case of sexual harassment, wrongful restraint and rash driving against “unknown persons”.