'It Didn't Happen,' Bengaluru Police Chief Says On Mass Molestation

Many women were allegedly molested on New Year's Eve in Bengaluru. Image Credit: Bangalore Mirror

Highlights

  • Such a thing 'could've happened', but there's 'no evidence': Police chief
  • Police chief strongly objected to using the term 'mass molestation'
  • Bengaluru police faced criticism after women were harassed on December 31
Bengaluru: The alleged mass molestation of women on Bengaluru's iconic MG Road stretch on New Year's Eve "did not happen", the new chief of city police, Pravin Sood, told NDTV. Later, he clarified that while such a thing "could have happened" in a city of 10 million, there was "no evidence" of it.  

The police chief also expressed his "strong objection" to the word "mass molestation", saying "In fact, it would be a great disservice".

The city police has been facing a storm of criticism after a group of men groped, stalked and harassed women on New Year's Eve, as thousands of people were partying in the city's biggest commercial stretch. Forty-five security cameras recorded the crowd and video footage circulated on social media had showed women crying and screaming for help.

Today, the police chief said, "On December 31, police officers were there... about 20 media OB vans were there on MG road... No one reported anything on the January 1... and nowadays, if something wrong happens, it goes viral in a minute". He said even on January 1, when he was addressing the media, "no one raised the issue".

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Asked if he was saying the mass molestation may not have happened, he said, "I am saying it did not happen".  It was not possible to say in a city of 10 million people such an event could not have happened, he later added. "If something has happened, I said 3 days back, 'please come to us, we are ready to take action'," he said.

The media footage of the event "changes the whole context," Mr Sood further said. "Only 30 seconds of footage is being shown, not what happened immediately before," he added.

The alleged molestation and Karnataka home minister G Parameswara's statement that "such things happen" has raised a storm, with women's groups questioning the attitude of the society and the authorities in India's tech hub. The minister has since said he had been quoted out of context.