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Girl’s trauma has Kammanahalli in grip of fear

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Bengaluru: Residents of Kammanahalli have been left reeling under shock after CCTV footage showing two men molesting a girl went viral. Though Banaswadi police station is less than 700m away from Kammanahalli 5th Main Road, where the incident occurred, local residents complain that there is hardly any police patrolling in the area, especially at night.

Kammanahalli, an eastern suburb of the city, is home to many migrants. Many foreign students, including Africans, are studying in nearby educational institutions.“We are stunned and shocked,” said S Seema, a neighbour of the victim. “There are many women IT professionals staying in this area and most of them come home late in the night. This is the first time an incident like this has happened here,” she said.

Many working women staying in the area are now increasingly worried after the incident. An IT professional who did not want to be named, said, “My office cab drops me off on the main road. They don’t come till my house since the road is narrow. But now I am scared to walk alone in the bylanes during night, after having seen the video. The culprit should be punished.”

Some residents say there is hardly any police patrolling in the area despite the police station being so close by. “I have seen several youngsters consuming alcohol and drugs during the night and passing lewd comments, especially on women. This incident came to light only after CCTV cameras were installed by an individual. It’s the role of the police to strengthen patrolling and CCTV surveillance to ensure safety of women,” said K Mohan, a resident of the area.

Another resident, A Haridas, who lives nearby, said, “We did not hear any noise that night. We came to know about the incident only from news channels. Now we are all worried about our safety.”

‘Had installed the camera to watch out for my car’ Prashanth Francis, who had installed a CCTV camera outside his house on Kammanahalli 5th Main Road, never thought that his camera would capture footage that would cause national outrage. The three-minute-odd video recorded at 2.38am on New Year’s Day has gone viral.

He told reporters, “I had installed the camera to keep an eye on my car which is parked on the road. It is often scratched and damaged by miscreants, especially during night.”

Francis told the police that the victim had come to his house on January 1, asking him to show her the CCTV footage claiming that she had lost her purse on the way home the previous night. It was only then that Francis saw what had happened. But even before he could ask her anything, she had left.

He added, “The two girls were returning home in an autorickshaw after celebrating New Year’s Eve with their friends. The victim’s friend got down from the auto first and rushed to their paying guest accommodation. The victim paid the auto fare and was walking towards the house when two bike-borne men came near her. One of them walked up to her and forcefully grabbed her by the neck and hugged and kissed her.”

Family members of those detained protest

Nearly 20 local residents raised slogans against the police outside Banaswadi police station after several men were detained in connection with the Kammanahalli incident. The protesters were family members of those who were detained. They claimed that the police had framed cases against the men. Some parents even said that the men were with them during the time of the incident.

MLCs Vinisha Nero and Tara visited the police station. Vinisha told media persons, “These incidents take place because some are not afraid of the law. Men should be taught how to behave and respect women. The accused won’t be spared.”

Later in the evening, BJP members staged a protest outside the police station demanding the arrest of the accused.

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