They’ve been charged with uncouth behaviour

An image posted on the Bangalore Traffic Police Facebook page led to the detention on Wednesday of two young men on the charge of making lewd gestures at two girls.

The image was uploaded by friends of the girls, one a Singapore citizen on a visit and the other a design student from Bangalore. The incident took place on Saturday near the Raheja Arcade in Koramangala 3rd Block, where two youths on a motorbike made rude and abusive gestures at the two girls — both in their 20s — who were crossing the road. The girls’ friend, Akshay Kingar, immediately clicked a picture of the two riders along with the licence plate of their bike.

Outraged citizens

Within hours of the image being posted on the Facebook page, it drew outraged comments from citizens who supported the girls and their quick-thinking friend. The post gathered 10,000 likes and about 3,000 shares in just 24 hours. A Facebook group, The Bangalore Doers, was created as a platform to support and encourage victims of such incidents and also to help put a stop to them.

On Wednesday, there was a response from the Bangalore Traffic Police saying they had the two young men in their custody.

Speaking to The Hindu, the Singapore national said: “We were attending an event in Koramanagala and crossing the road when the boys, who had stopped at a traffic signal, leered and made kissing noises at us and sped away.” But not before giving them the finger. “The only thing we managed to do was to take a picture of them before they escaped,” she said.

She said she was surprised that such passes were made in broad daylight in upmarket Koramangala. “At that point of time, I felt scared and was very glad to have my friends with me. I don’t think any kind of harassment (physical, verbal or even through gestures) must be tolerated. Allowing such small things to continue may lead to bigger problems.” Encouraged by the response on Facebook, Mr. Kingar lodged a complaint with the Koramangala police on Monday. He admitted he did not expect the kind of response the image evoked.

“It was overwhelming with so many citizens backing us. It is not that I want these boys to be beaten up but I would want them to apologise to my friends. I would look at it as an opportunity to bring about social change rather than view it as a crime.”

Commerce students

The Koramangala police said they detained both the youths on Wednesday for several hours for questioning. “We have called the complainant as well. Both the boys are B.Com students of private colleges here and aged 21 and 22. They were let off later.”

They have been charged for ‘eve-teasing’ under the Karnataka Police Act.

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