India: Fury after women are assaulted & minister says 'such incidents do happen'
Karnataka home minister G Parameshwara blamed the assaults on 'western culture' and women's choice of clothes. Photograph: (AFP)
Slamming Karnataka home minister G Parameshwara's remark that "such incidents do happen on New Year's day and Christmas", women's activist Ranjana Kumari said on Tuesday that instead of assuring the public that such an incident would never again take place, the minister was instead blaming western culture.
It is disgraceful that the minister, who is supposed to take care of law and order, safety and security, is also blaming the incident on women's choice of clothes, said Kumari.
Parameshwara's remark came after women were assaulted on the streets of Bengaluru by gangs of men on New Year's eve,
"He has failed in delivering the administration on the eve when he knew so many people will be there. His police didn't act and instead of punishing the police and of suspending them who were there for not acting...instead of really assuring the women of Karnataka which is a progressive state and instead of assuring that never ever such thing will happen... there he is finding excuses and covering his face by posing the curtain of the western culture. This is totally unacceptable," said Kumari.
Women's activist Saswati Ghosh from Kolkata told ANI it was horrifying that incidents like these were being reported from a state the nation considers "civilised".
"Reports say that the police deployment was not sufficient, which is really shocking. When they know that Christmas Eve will lead to various types of hooliganism..that is quite shocking that police was not vigilant to the extent they should have been. Now, when there is enough photographic evidence the police should take serious cognizance to the fact," she said.
Historian Ramachandra Guha tweeted, "The Karnataka home minister drags his non performing government further into the muck. His statement on dress and molestation was despicable."
Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association, also tweeted, "Shame on Karnataka Home Min who blames 'western culture, dress' for #Bangalore #NewYear mass molestation!"
And Kiren Rijiju, minister of state for home, told ANI: "Unfortunate. How can such incidents happen? Strict action must be taken."
Reacting to the molestations on MG Road and Brigade Road during the New Year eve celebrations, Parameshwara had said there were enough police personnel deployed in Bengaluru to ensure the safety of women and "such incidents do happen on New Year's day and Christmas".
"We had deployed 1,500 police personnel in the area for New Year's celebrations. Such incidents do happen on New Year day and on Christmas. We take a lot of precautions," Parmeshwara told ANI.
The incident of mass molestation reportedly occurred on December 31 midnight at Bengaluru's MG Road and Brigade Road.
A group of drunk hooligans gathered at the spot to celebrate New Year's eve.
Upon spotting young girls out for the celebration, the hooligans began passing lewd remarks against them.