Vinod Kumar has reasons to be disappointed. If the owner of Sterling CCTV Solutions had hoped that the reported mass molestation of women on New Year’s Eve on the city’s MG Road will instil a craze for security among shopkeepers on the stretch and push his sales up, his wish has been belied.
Some 10 days after MG Road gained nationwide infamy, the iconic downtown has slipped back to normal.
It hasn’t augured well for Kumar, who had put up hoardings advertising his product. “I received may be three calls, all of them general inquiries,” he rues. Not an extra piece has been sold by him.
Residents and shop owners on the stretch best known for its eateries and pubs say it is back to business for them.
“There has been absolutely no impact, as far as our business is concerned. We have been in this business for 25 years and our regulars come here, no matter what happens,” pointed out Srinivas Gowda, manager of the famous Peco pub.
Other business establishments have not registered any decline in footfall, even after dusk. Media reports suggested that several women were molested in the night of December 31, outraging the nation and raising fresh concerns over women’s public safety.
But managers of movie theatres INOX Shankarnag and Rex said even late night shows screening Aamir Khan-starrer ‘Dangal’ are drawing huge crowds, including women.”This is surprising because the movie is already in its third week, but there has been a steady crowd even for the night shows, said a staff at INOX Shankarnag who did not wish to be named.
At Rex, Nagaraj, the manager, said, “Next week, the Telugu movie Khaidi No. 150 is releasing, and already shows have been sold out, especially the night shows.”
Anusha, an engineering student visiting the stretch with friends, said the media reports made no difference to her. “Right now it’s not unsafe. It’s only when a mass of people gather that it feels unsafe,” she explained.
Police have denied the reports of mass molestation and none have come forward to lodge complaints.
However, a group of students from St Joseph’s College were at one corner of the busy street, staging a protest against what was alleged to have happened on New Year’s Eve. As Aaron Singh, a demonstrator put it: It was time to turn the focus towards educating men.