Several women were allegedly molested at a large gathering at the junction of Brigade Road and M G Road in Bengaluru during New Year’s Eve celebrations. Amid the widespread outrage, the state home minister stoked a controversy by blaming the youths’ “western ways” for the incidents.
National Commission for Women chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam came down heavily on the police and slammed Home Minister G Parameshwara’s remarks, demanding that he should resign. The NCW as well as Karnataka State Commission for Women sought reports from the administration and police on the incidents.
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The police Monday said they were looking for the culprits. “We have not received any complaint from the victims. We have around 60 CCTVs in the locality where the alleged incident took place and completed verification of footage of around 30, but we did not notice any such incident yet,” Dr Chandragupta, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central division), said. He added that stringent action will be taken if any such incident is noticed.
Eyewitness accounts suggested that women were molested and lewd remarks were also passed by miscreants on the night of December 31 even as 1,500 policemen were deployed.
Speaking to reporters, Home Minister Parameshwara said, “It is not good. We will look into it and see that it is not repeated.”
Speaking to a TV channel, he said: “As I said, unfortunately what is happening is a large number of youngsters gather on days like New Year on Brigade Road, Commercial Street, M G Road. Youngsters who are almost like westerners, they try to copy westerners not only in mindset, but even the dressing. So some disturbance, some girls are harassed, these kinds of things do happen.”
The remarks drew an angry response from the NCW chairperson. “Such remarks from the minister are unacceptable and regrettable… He should apologise to the women of the country and resign,” Kumaramangalam said.