Bengaluru: Attack on Tanzanian woman: Four more held, two policemen suspended

Bengaluru, Feb 5 (IANS) Four more people were arrested and two policemen suspended in connection with the assault and molestation of a Tanzanian woman in the city on January 31, a top police official said on Friday.

“We have arrested four more people in the assault case of the Tanzanian woman, in addition to five who were taken into custody on Thursday for interrogation,” city Police Commissioner N.S. Megharik told reporters here.

In her statement, the victim Tanzanian woman has denied being stripped or paraded naked but admitted that she was assaulted and molested by the mob when her top (T-shirt) got torn off in the scuffle.

When the victim’s Tanzanian friend (Junail Ibrahim, who was at the wheel) tried to stop the angry mob from assaulting her, he was also thrashed.

Inspector Pravin Babu and constable Manjunath of the jurisdictional police station in the city’s northern suburb were suspended for failing to help the victim and take her complaint as they were on duty on that (Sunday) night.

“Babu and Manjunath were suspended after preliminary investigation and on the basis of the victim’s statement to us that they did not save her from the mob attack and not register her complaint,” Megharik said.

All the accused have been booked under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for assault, unlawful assembly, arson, rioting and outraging a woman’s modesty.

“We may arrest a few more on the basis of the investigation underway by the city crime branch and interrogation of the accused,” Megharik pointed out.

Parents and relatives of the accused, however, told union Minister for Law and Justice D.V. Sadananda Gowda that police had arrested “innocent” people in the assault case without evidence under pressure from the state government.

Gowda, a former state chief minister during the Bharatiya Janata Party rule in 2011-12, is a lawmaker from the Bengaluru North Lok Sabha constituency, in which the locality (Soladevanahalli) where the incident took place falls.

In a case of mistaken identity, an angry mob assaulted the 21-year-old victim, suspecting her to be a friend of a Sudanese student, Mohammad Ahad Ismail, 20, whose car ran over a woman pedestrian (Shabana Taz,35) fatally while driving drunk on the same (Sunday) night and injuring her husband K. Sanaullah.

“Arrests were made on the basis of eye witnesses’ account and video footage from closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) in the area,” Megharik added.

The Sudanese national, an MBA student, who caused the accident, was arrested for Shabana’s death and drunken driving after the mob attacked him before police came and rescued him on the same night.

Outraged by Shabana’s death in the accident by a Sudanese, another violent mob mistakenly targetted the victim and burnt the car (Wagon R) in which she was with three male friends and passing through the area, assuming her to be Ismail’s friend.

About 12,000 foreign students from various countries are studying in colleges across the city.

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