World

Police on hunt for culprits in mass Bangalore molestations

BANGALORE There is "credible" evidence that gangs of men sexually assaulted women at a New Year's Eve celebration in Bangalore, Indian police said yesterday, adding they have filed a criminal case over the incident.

Mr Praveen Sood, the police commissioner of Bangalore city, said an inquiry had been set up into allegations women attending the celebrations were chased, groped, molested and robbed.

The announcement followed a public outcry over comments by a local minister blaming the attacks on "western dress".

Mr Sood told reporters: "The police teams are working. We are sure we will catch the culprits."

Additional police commissioner Hemant Nimbalkar told AFP a case had been filed against unnamed persons for sexual harassment, illegal confinement and forcefully attempting to disrobe.

Police officers have been sifting through footage from at least 45 surveillance cameras installed in the city centre where hundreds of revellers had gathered.

India has been shamed in the past by shocking levels of sexual assault against women, notably in December 2012 when a student was gang-raped on a bus in New Delhi and later died of her injuries.

Indians took to social media to condemn the latest incident.

"#bangaloremolestation only shows how casual it is to molest women" tweeted user Falguni Vasavada-Oza.

Footage circulating on social media showed women screaming for help.

The attacks have been compared to last year's mass sexual assaults at New Year celebrations in the German city of Cologne, where police were also accused of losing control. - AFP

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