The young Tanzanian woman who was allegedly stripped and assaulted by a mob on the outskirts of Bengaluru last week was not the primary target. She came under attack only after two policemen, who were guarding her, left her side, a friend of the victim told HT on Thursday.
“My friend, Hasheem, approached two uniformed policemen who were standing and watching (the attack). The police threw him back into the crowd,” the victim told HT in a brief conversation at the office of Bengaluru’s DCP (north) TR Suresh, who quickly intervened and ushered the woman into his chamber.
Her friend said the crowd’s attention was focused on three Tanzanian men who were travelling with the woman in a car. “When I reached the spot, she was standing with two policemen. Some distance away, the mob was chasing one of the men,” said Brighton, a Tanzanian student who rushed to the spot to rescue his friends.
“Once the three men managed to escape, the crowd started setting fire to the car. They were breaking off branches from trees, setting them on fire and shoving them into the vehicle. The two policemen who were standing (with the Tanzanian woman) could have stopped them, but they did nothing,” he said.
After the car was set ablaze, the policemen walked away from the scene, leaving Brighton and the woman at the mercy of the angry crowd.
That’s when the mob purportedly attacked Brighton and the woman. “They tore her clothes and kept taking turns to beat us,” he said. When he tried to cover her, they thrashed him even more.
“One good Indian man ran toward us, gave her his shirt and quickly ran away. After some time, four Samaritans, Indians, intervened and slowly started taking us away from the mob. One of our Iranian friends came at that point and took us to his house,” Brighton said.
The woman’s lawyer, Darshana Mitra, told HT, her client asked the policemen for help but they didn’t do anything.