Notice the silent bystanders? (Photo: The Quint)
| 3 min read

Bengaluru’s CCTV Footage Exposes Our Complete Apathy as Bystanders

In the world of viral videos you’ll watch everything once.

Then twice, for effect.

Then a third, to make sure the grotesque, inhuman and brutal thing you have just witnessed is grotesque, inhuman and brutal enough for you to pass on to the next intrigued internet user.

Aka, share on social media and contribute to the virality of the phenomenon.

I don’t blame you.

Hard hitting visuals are difficult to ignore – particularly when it panders, in equal parts, to the unfortunate voyeur and the easy empathiser in you. Like the Bengaluru CCTV footage of today. The footage that has finally compelled the city’s police force to claim they have credible evidence to now register an FIR.

Also Read: “Pawed at, Groped”: B’luru’s Disaster and Molestation as a Trope

Watch the (viral) video, if you haven’t already. Pause at the pulse points (if you haven’t already) and recoil in horror at the visuals of an unsuspecting woman accosted in the erstwhile safety of the street where her home is. Watch as she is grabbed and molested by one man, then dragged to another man waiting for his fill on a scooter. Watch as she is repeatedly and consistently molested as she slaps, wrestles – and finds herself chucked to the ground once the fun is over. Now, understand a little more carefully that that’s not all that happened.

Here’s a clear frame-by-frame:

(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)
(Photo: The Quint)

Also Read: CCTV Footage Shows 2 Boys Attempting to Molest a Girl in Bengaluru

Outlined clearly against the grainy night sky (the CCTV camera records 2.42 am on Sunday, the 1st of January) are a group of bystanders. Watch how, as the first man climbs off his scooter and approaches her, they gather at the mouth of the lane.

They watch, they jostle amongst themselves – but they do nothing.

They do nothing.

Also Read: It’s Not Bengaluru’s Shame, It’s Me and You

Now watch with renewed perception. Look beyond the stillness of the video and the graininess of the footage. What do you think the woman – the one being pawed at and molested – is doing while she is being pawed at and molested on the very street she lives on? Screaming for help? Calling out to neighbours? Crying in protest as the men on the scooter shock her out of her wits?

If she, as can only be reasoned by common sense, isn’t in fact silent as this happens to her, where are the people rushing to her for help? The people who stand and watch at the mouth of the lane but do nothing.

You may have missed the obvious the first, second or third time you’ve watched it. But not anymore. Now you know this could have been prevented.

It just wasn’t.