An Indian man helps a woman (C) leave as police try to manage crowds during New Year's Eve celebrations in Bangalore.
An Indian man helps a woman (C) leave as police try to manage crowds during New Year's Eve celebrations in Bangalore.

What happened?

Women reported being groped and molested during New Year's Eve celebrations in Bangalore when a mob of men sexually harassed and assaulted them.

The Bangalore Mirror described the incident as a "mass molestation."

One witness was the Bangalore Mirror 's chief photographer, Anantha Subramanya, who captured images of weeping women who were running away with their shoes in hand and calling for help.

One of the victims, Manisha Gupta, told the Bangalore Mirror that she was groped by men and saw other women crying.

She added that the police providing security on the streets that night were vastly outnumbered by the mob.

Have any arrests been made?

So far, six men have been detained.

The police have drawn criticism for failing to launch an investigation until three days after the incident.

Authorities have also faced criticism for not doing enough to stiffen a weak system of law enforcement and policing that leaves women vulnerable.

Are the victims being blamed?

Politicians have also drawn criticism for their statements in the wake of the incident. Abu Azim, the leader of Samajwadi, a political party, said "If there is sugar, ants will come," while the Karnataka State Minister said that the incidents occurred because young people were "copying the Westerners, not only in their mindset, but even in their dressing."

How prevalent is sexual assault and harassment in India?

The events that unfolded on New Year's Eve add to a history of violence against women. In a notorious case in December 2012, a student who was gang raped on a bus in New Delhi eventually died of her injuries. That incident brought international attention to an issue critics say is prevalent.

The National Crime Record Bureau says in 2015 more than 300,000 crimes against women were reported, including more than 34,000 cases of rape.

Public outcry over the frequency of rape in India has been so vehement that the government enacted a fast track court in an attempt to deal with the problem.

Despite this, victims face barriers to reporting cases when they have been harassed, assaulted or raped. Victims often face social stigma if they go public. The police force lacks women officers. Few convictions result from charges of harassment or sexual crime.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies