“Thirty seconds of confusion is being projected as a mass molestation,” Bengaluru Police Commissioner Praveen Sood told the BBC on Thursday. He claimed that there was no evidence to prove that “sex attacks” had taken place on New Year’s Eve in the heart of the city in the clips acquired from 70 CCTV cameras. “I categorically say that nothing of that sort has happened,” he added.
A crowd of some 10,000 had gathered in Bengaluru’s MG Road and Brigade Road to bring in the New Year, Sood said. The commissioner alleged that the footage being shared by the media to claim that there was mass molestation in the city was of the police trying to disperse the melee. “People ran, there were a lot of girls there. There was panic, there was a melee, they got separated, they were crying,” he told the news channel.
No woman has filed a formal complaint on molestation yet, though the police are ready to treat their statements to the media as complaints and begin an inquiry, the senior officer said. Sood had earlier said that the police had found “credible evidence” in connection with the harassment women faced on the city’s streets on December 31.
A marketing professional told BBC that it would be difficult to file a complaint against a single individual because there were men being inappropriate with women from all sides even when they tried to walk to to safety in a group.
Reports on January 1 said that hundreds of women were left cowering behind police personnel or male friends and acquaintances in Bengaluru as crowds of men descended on them. Some were forced to run away, while others wept. The city had relaxed its night-time restrictions and allowed celebrations up to 2 am for New Year’s Eve.