Appearing nonchalant about the gross violation of law and civil decency that took place on the streets of Bengaluru on New Year’s Eve, Karnataka Home Minister G Parmeshwara said that ‘such incident do happen on New Year day and Christmas’. He was quoted saying by ANI: “Such incidents do happen on New Year day and on Christmas. We take a lot of precautions.”
His comment came after a front-page report in Bangalore Mirror about unruly mobs who molested women who had gathered at MG Road and Brigade Road. Meanwhile the inspect of Cubbon Park Police Station was quoted saying by Hindustan Times: “We had deployed 1600 police personnel in the area for new year’s celebrations and around 60,000 people had come there that night. But we had the situation under control. However, if such incidents did take place that night we urge people to come forward and file complaints.”
In addition to the entire city police force, men from reserve battalions were also deployed on the city streets to maintain law and order during New Year’s Eve celebrations, claimed former city police commissioner NS Megharikh, who was in charge of the night’s security measures in the city.
However, none of these arrangements were of any help to the women who became easy targets for drunk hooligans, forcing some of them to literally take off their heeled shoes and run for help. Being terribly outnumbered on the streets surrounded by thousands of revellers, the cops could intervene only in certain situations depending on how bad it was.
Not a single case of molestation or harassment has been registered despite photographic evidence and eyewitness accounts.
Sandeep Patil former deputy commissioner (central) of the city, under whose purview Brigade Road and MG Road fall, told Bangalore Mirror that a number of women did approach the cops seeking help when they got separated from their family members and friends. “So we used our public address systems to locate and our men ensured they faced no hardship,” he said.
This was in contradiction to what some of the other police personnel deployed on the streets had to say. A woman police officer deployed on Church Street had to chase away a couple of men trying to molest and strip a drunk woman. “It is very disturbing to see women caught in such helpless situation,” she told Mirror.
Ajai Kumar Singh, retired director-general of police told the daily, “It has been the case since the 70s. Handling the New Year crowd in Bengaluru is very difficult, but that means the police department should have a clear plan and be well-prepared to ensure there are no major incidents.”