Women's outfits to blame for groping, says minister
An Indian minister has sparked outrage by suggesting that a "mass molestation" of women in one of the country's busiest nightlife hubs took place because they dressed "like Westerners".
Multiple women were groped during New Year celebrations in Bangalore, the capital of India's southern Karnataka state, according to local and social media reports.
Photographs of distraught women rushing out of crowds and seeking help from police appeared in those reports.
But Karnataka state home minister, G Parameshwara, caused uproar after he said the alleged attacks were the result of Western influences.
"They tried to copy the Westerners, not only in their mindset but even in their dressing," he said. "So some disturbance, some girls are harassed, these kinds of things do happen."
The minister's comments have sparked uproar, with National Commission for Women chief Lalitha Kumaramangalam telling local media: "I want to ask this minister are Indian men so pathetic and weak that when they see a woman in Western clothes on a day of revelry, they get out of control?"
"All hell broke loose close to midnight as hooligans in the garb of revellers started pawing, molesting and passing lewd remarks on women on the streets, forcing some of them to literally take off their stilettos and run for help," the 'Bangalore Mirror' newspaper reported.