New Delhi: While Bengaluru was ushering in 2017 in public celebrations around the city, Chaitali Wasnick was headed home after work at around 1:30 am and like other young women, Ms Wasnick, used to looking out for herself, felt two men approaching her were best avoided.
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"I saw something like suspicious looks from them so I just moved aside, I let them pass," she told NDTV last night. "What happened was, he just groped me out of nowhere. I did not have any idea that he'll do that so I went totally blank." She said she couldn't believe that instead of leaping to her assistance, a group of men tried to stop her from turning on her attacker. "When I finally realised what really happened, I just went back to him and started hitting him and punching him and whatever I could do to take my anger out. After some time, something like 15 to 20 men came and they tried to stop me from hitting that molester. So I was very pissed off that why this person is stopping me from that molester. And they were like 'this is New Year, this happens so just let it be.' "
What Ms Wasnick endured in Indiranagar, a suburb in east Bengaluru, was being repeated in a series of attacks on women who were at and around MG Road, one of Bengaluru's busiest commercial streets. Thousands of people were partying. In the revelry, men, some of them drunk, groped, stalked and harassed women. 45 security cameras recorded the crowd. Video footage circulated on social media shows women crying and screaming for help. Three days later, the police, confronting public anger and criticism, said last night that it has found "credible evidence" of the mass molestations.
Like the other women who were assaulted, Ms Wasnick said that she was forced to fend for herself. Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara, who has outraged many with declaring "these things do happen," said that "it's not possible to have 10,000 policemen" patrolling the streets. 1,500 were deputed to manage the roads and supervise the crowds on New Year's Eve, he said.
"I was looking everywhere but there were no cops available at all," Ms Wasnick told NDTV. "There are like five to 10 cops who are already standing at the same spot but they did not come and ask me what happened or what is your problem or something."