Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara on Thursday said his controversial remarks about the wide-spread street harassment of women reported in Bengaluru on the night of December 31 were taken out of context. He said the city had always been peaceful for women, in a contrast to his previous comment, when he had said that “such incidents do happen”. “Incident’s like the one that happened on new year must not bring bad name to Bengaluru,” the state minister said.

He said he would reply to the National Commission for Women’s summons.I will also reply to the governor who has asked for a report,” Parameshwara said. The Centre had also condemned the home minister’s remarks about the incident.

When the incident came to light, the minister had blamed “western ways” among youngsters for the harassment and said that it was not uncommon for crowds of women to be molested in the city on Christmas and new year’s eve. “Youngsters who are almost like westerners, they try to copy the westerners not only in the mindset, but even the dressing,” Parmeshwara had told a news channel.

Reports on January 1 said hundreds of women were left cowering behind police personnel or male friends and acquaintances as the crowds of men descended on them. Some were forced to run away, the report said, while others wept. The city had relaxed its night-time restrictions and allowed celebrations up to 2 am for new year’s eve. The incidents were reported mainly from the city’s MG Road-Brigade Road area.