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Bengaluru police spike security at site of last New Year’s Eve ‘mass molestation’

Police plan to installed watch towers, apart from other measures, to keep an eye on revellers.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2017 11:18 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
New Year's Eve celebration,Brigade Road,Silicon valley
Brigade Road is decked up ahead of New Year. (HT Photo )

Bengaluru’s reveller hotspot Brigade Road, the site of alleged mass molestation during last New Year’s Eve celebrations, will have a heightened police presence this time around.

Officially, police are however not linking the security spike to the alleged mass molestation that shook the nation. Incidentally, police registered a suo moto case over the incident based on media reports on January 3, amid a barrage of criticism.

Nearly a year on, they are yet to get a single complaint or evidence to establish that mass molestation did happen on the night of December 31 in the New Year celebration hub of the city.

MG Road, another popular New Year’s Eve haunt close to Brigade Road, will also see increased police presence.

“Similar arrangements have always been made. We are increasing the police presence in the MG Road-Brigade Road area,” said Bengaluru police commissioner T Suneel Kumar.

Police will also set up watch towers to monitor crowd in these two busiest shopping and commercial areas of the India’s Silicon valley.

Overall, around 10,000 police personnel will be on duty across Bengaluru on New Year’s Eve, according to a recent affidavit city police submitted to Karnataka high court.

Police also said 200 CCTV cameras will be added to the existing 715.

However, not everybody is convinced about the impact of those measures on the ground. “There is a tendency in Bengaluru to claim a problem has been solved by getting in technology,” said Brinda Adige, a women’s rights activist. “The response to last year’s events is to increase CCTV cameras without creating any kind of awareness about sexual violence,” she added.

At the start of 2017, even as Brigade Road dominated the headlines, two more cases of molestation were reported in the city. Later, one turned out to be staged.

In the wake of criticism, the government launched Suraksha App for women. The app allows women to discreetly alert the police using their smartphone. The government also started Pink Hoysalas — police patrol vehicles to respond quickly to complaints of violence against women and children.

With the assembly elections early next year, the state’s Congress government does not want to take any chance. “The message to the police is clear: keep your guard up,” said a senior government official who did not want to be named.

First Published: Dec 25, 2017 10:20 IST