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Bengaluru: Four held for ‘stalking, molesting’ woman

On January 1, the woman and her friend were returning after a New Year party when the youths followed them to the street where they lived.

Police on Thursday arrested four youths for allegedly stalking a woman and molesting her near her residence in east Bengaluru in the early hours of New Year’s Day. CCTV footage of the incident was broadcast on television channels and sparked widespread outrage. The arrests were made after the police went through footage from a camera installed at a residence on the street where the attack took place.

The accused were identified as Ayyappa alias Nithish Kumar (19), a delivery boy at a food joint, and his accomplices Leno alias Lenin Patrik (20), a private firm employee and commerce student, Sudesh alias Sudhi (20), a college student, and Somashekar alias Chinni (24), also a delivery boy. All four are residents of Kammanahalli area of east Bengaluru.

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Bengaluru police commissioner Praveen Sood said the youths used to spend time near the residence of the woman and had been stalking her and her roommate for five to six days before the assault.

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“The whole incident was captured on a CCTV camera installed at the home of a resident of the street, Prashanth Francis, who brought the footage to the notice of the police. We registered a case without the victim approaching us and arrested four persons. Two more suspects will be caught soon,” Sood said.

On January 1, the woman and her friend were returning after a New Year party when the youths followed them to the street where they lived. Some of the youths allegedly challenged Ayyappa to hug the woman and wish her new year after she got down from an auto-rickshaw. The youth approached the victim and allegedly assaulted her while his friend watched.

The youths have been booked under Sections 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 354a (sexual harassment), 354b (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC. They were remanded in five days’ police custody on Thursday.

Sood commended Prashanth Francis, who provided the CCTV footage. “The police cannot do anything if citizens do not come forward to report crimes,’’ he said. “We have deliberately tried not to bring the victim into the spotlight. We had to work on building her confidence. We are in touch with her.”

First published on: 06-01-2017 at 01:52:33 am
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