Thursday 27 July 2017

Six held in India amid outrage over New Year's Eve attacks

A motorist rides past young Indian girls in Bangalore, India (AP/Aijaz Rahi)
A motorist rides past young Indian girls in Bangalore, India (AP/Aijaz Rahi)

Police in India have detained at least six suspects, days after outrage erupted over several women being groped and molested during New Year's Eve celebrations in the southern city of Bangalore.

Police in the city, the country's information technology hub, first denied that any incident of sexual harassment had taken place during the late-night celebrations.

But 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 went viral on social media.

The incident highlights the persistent violence against women in India despite tougher laws against sexual assault imposed after the December 2012 death of a young woman who was gang-raped on a bus in New Delhi.

One senior state government minister said the New Year's incidents took place because the women were acting like Westerners, implying that their attire had provoked the attacks.

The police had earlier said 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 the NDTV news channel that she was heading home at around 1.30am 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," Ms Wasnick said, adding that no-one came to help her and that there were no police personnel around.

As Bangalore newspapers published images of several women who had allegedly 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.

AP

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