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NEW DELHI -- Police in the south Indian city of Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) have detained at least six suspects after video surfaced of a woman being assaulted and groped on a street on New Year’s Eve.
The video shows a woman getting off an auto-rickshaw late at night and walking down a street, pursued by two men on a scooter. They stop the scooter, one of the men approaches her and wraps his arms around her before appearing to try and kiss her and grope her.
The woman is seen resisting the attack as the man drags her toward his friend on the scooter while reportedly trying to rip some of her clothing off. Eventually, the man throws her to the ground before getting back onto the scooter with his companion and riding away.
During the attack, which lasts less than a minute, other men on bikes are seen nearby stopping to witness the incident, but doing nothing to stop it.
Watch: India's women revolt against a culture of rape
The video of the incident was captured by a security camera installed on a house in East Bengaluru. The owners shared the video with police and media, on the basis of which police registered a case and launched their investigation.
The woman has not come forward to police and remains unidentified. Police have said they’re trying to identify her.
Police in Bengaluru were already investigating an alleged mass molestation on the same night at a different place in the city.
Indian media reported several women were sexually assaulted when a crowd of thousands of young men and women gathered in the city center to welcome the new year. Reports say several men, some of them drunk, began groping and grabbing women in the crowd, despite a significant police presence.
Though no woman has come forward to report anything from that incident, police say they have “credible evidence” of molestations, and are investigating.
Bengaluru Police Commissioner Praveen Sood said on his Twitter account that his officers have examined video from 45 different cameras as part of that investigation.
Bengaluru, a sprawling metropolis sometimes referred to as India’s Silicon Valley for the number of technology companies based there, has been considered a safe city for women.
“We can’t allow such shameful act of #MassMolestation go unpunished. Bangaluru is a vibrant city & women must be safe in a civilised society,” India’s Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju, said in a tweet.
Pictures of women trying to avoid the alleged assaults on New Year’s Eve, and the video of the assault on the woman in East Benagluru have spread fast on social media in India.
The alleged public sexual assaults have outraged Indians, who have been forced to confront the nation’s problem with attitudes toward women since the brutal 2012 gang-rape of a woman on a bus made international headlines.
The home minister of India’s Karnataka state, where Bengaluru is located, has come under fire for appearing to blame the female victims of the mass molestation incident.
“They (Indian women) try to copy the West, not only in their mind-set but even in their dressing,” G Parameshwara was quoted as saying. “So some disturbance; some girls are harassed; these kind of things do happen.”
After his remarks sparked outrage, the minister has said his words were “interpreted out of context.”
However, it would not be the first time an Indian politician has blamed the victim of a sexual assault for the crime.
New Year's Eve Sexual Assault In India: 6 Arrested In Bangalore Incident
Bangalore Police arrested six suspects following the release of video footage that sparked outrage amid allegations of a “mass molestation” in the city New Year’s Eve.
The video, submitted by a Times of India reader, shows a woman walking down the street when two men on a motorcycle stop on the side of the road. They try to wrestle the woman before eventually throwing her to the ground and driving away.
The assault happened at the same time as an alleged mass molestation. Indian media reported multiple women were sexually harassed or molested in the city’s center when crowds gathered to celebrate the holiday.
“As promised we have found credible evidence, repeat credible, evidence in a case of wrongful confinement, molestation and attempt to rob,” Police Commissioner Praveen Sood tweeted the same day that the video was released to the public.
A rape case in New Dehli came to a head in December after police announced they arrested four men accused of drugging and raping a U.S. tourist April 9. One of those four suspects was denied bail after Delhi’s Patiala House Court dismissed the request Wednesday.
The unidentified woman, in her early 30s, alleged her tour guide and three other men raped her in her hotel room.
The alleged mass molestation in Bengalore was not the only reported series of sexual assaults during the holiday. In Austria, senior police official Ernst Kranebitter said officers are attempting to identify a group of as many as 10 men who reportedly groped around 18 women on New Year’s Eve in Innsbruck.
"We've not had anything like this happen here before," Kranebitter said. "They were dancing around the victims and then suddenly grabbed their breast or stuck their hands between their legs.
“That's what made it hard for others to notice what was going on,” he added. “It all happened amid festivities."
Six arrested over New Year sex attacks in Bangalore
Local police inspector Hemant Nimbalkar said the arrests were made after several video clips were shared online showing women being attacked by men.
Police initially played down reports of sex attacks, saying they had received no official complaints.
But after viewing CCTV police officials admitted there was "credible evidence".
The attacks took place as a crowd of 10,000 gathered in the centre of the city to see in New Year on Saturday evening.
Several women described being surrounded by mobs of men before being assaulted. One video showed two men on a motorbike attack a woman as she walked down a street.
One woman, a marketing professional who asked to be identified only as Pooja, told the BBC that she was assaulted both in the bar and as she walked to meet a friend.
Even when she formed a circle with another group of girls to try and walk to safety, "there were guys who were trying to touch here and there", she said.
"There was not a single face you could make out or who was doing it," she said, pointing out how difficult it would be to file a complaint.
"I felt helpless," she said. "Although I have hands and legs and I could abuse and slap them, I could not do anything. I didn't know who was touching me and groping me."
Karnataka State Home Minister G Parameshwara caused widespread anger when he blamed young women for "copying the Westerners, not only in their mindset, but even in their dressing".
"These kind of things do happen," he said.
National Commission for Women chief Lalitha Kumaramangalam called for Mr Parameshwara to apologise and resign.