The Bengaluru Police on Thursday arrested four men, including two delivery boys, for allegedly molesting a woman in a residential area of the city on the New Year’s Day, an assault that was caught on CCTV.
The men were “stalking” the woman, who moved to the city a week before the incident, and had planned the attack, police commissioner Praveen Sood told mediapersons about the incident that came to light two days after “mass molestation” of women was reported from another part of the city around the same time.
“Two others have been identified and will be arrested soon,” the city police chief said.
He identified the man who groped the woman as Aiyappa (19), a delivery boy. Lenin Patrick, 20, a helper, was the one who drove him on the scooter. Somashekhar (24), a driver, and Sudesh (20), also a delivery boy, are the other two who were arrested.
“They had been stalking the victim for about four-five days, and since all the accused were involved in planning the attack, they have been booked under the same charges,” Sood said.
The four are charged with sexual harassment and wrongful restraint.
All the accused were from the same locality, Kammanahalli, and the victim did not know them. An identification parade had not been conducted yet, Sood said.
Police had acted on their own to register a case of molestation based on the CCTV footage that shows the men drive past the woman, take a U-turn and stop the vehicle. The pillion rider jumps off the vehicle, gropes the woman and the men drive away.
During the day, Karnataka home minister G Parameshwara condemned the incident during a press conference.
“Bengaluru is safe for women and children. Kannadigas do not behave in this manner,” he said. The commissioner, however, said all the accused were locals.
The two assaults caused a great deal of anger, raising questions about policing and women safety in a city considered safe for women.
Police had found no evidence of mass molestation during New Year’s Eve celebrations on MG Road and Brigade Road, Sood said again on Thursday.
“We have found no evidence of mass molestation in the footage we have examined. However, based on some media reports and posts on social media we have filed four cases suo motu,” he said, adding none of the people who spoke to media had contacted police.