Mumbai: For Karnataka Home Minister, G Parameshwara, "these things do happen" is an acceptable explanation of women being molested en masse at a public celebration of New Year's Eve in Bengaluru. Abu Azmi of the Samajwadi Party dispensed the argument that if women, unaccompanied by their fathers or husbands, mingle with other men, "it is wrong to expect them to treat her with respect...if there is sugar somewhere, ants will come."
- Women have to take care of their own security: Samajwadi Party leader
- The more women are naked, more modern they are considered: Azmi
- Many women were allegedly molested during New Year celebrations
For these remarks, both politicians have been summoned for an explanation by the National Commission for Women. "Are they living in the 12th century?" asked an outraged Lalitha Kumaramangalam, who heads the women's rights body.
On December 31, as midnight approached, several women were groped, harassed and stalked as they tried to escape the street party on and around MG Road in the heart of Bengaluru. Eyewitnesses say the police were either unwilling or unable to help. Photographs show a woman breaking down on the shoulder of a female constable.
Days later, no case has been registered by the police. The state's Home Minister says security camera footage is being scoured to identify the attackers. Mr Kumaramangalam said that the police and government should have increased security because they knew the gathering would be a large one. She has also said that the Home Minister must resign for his misogynistic remarks.
The Home Minister, who is from the ruling Congress, claims that the police's inaction or lack of preparedness is not the problem. "A large number of youngsters gathered -- youngsters who are almost like westerners," he said. "They try to copy westerners not only in mindset, but even the dressing, so some disturbance, some girls are harassed, these kind of things do happen."
Mr Azmi also sought to blame "western dress" for the uninhibited molestation. "In these modern times, the more women are naked, the more fashionable, modern and educated they are considered. And this is increasing in the country. This is a blot on our culture," he said.