After a video of 14 men sexually harassing two women in Uttar Pradesh's Rampur district surfaced, Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan courted controversy by saying that women should avoid going to places where "they are vulnerable and can be molested."
Around 14 men molested two women near a village under the Tanda police station in the state's Rampur district, filmed the whole incident on their mobile phones and circulated it on social media over the last 15 days. The police filed a molestation case and arrested the main accused, NDTV reported. They are still searching for the rest of the people involved in the case.
When asked about the incident, SP leader Khan said: "What is there to be surprised. There have been so many rapes and murders (in the state) under the new government. Girls should also avoid places jahan besharmi ka nanga naach ho raha ho (where they are vulnerable and can be molested)... After the Bulandshahr gang-rape case, people should ensure that women of their house stay indoors as much as possible."
The video shows the 14 men accosting, groping, pushing, pulling and abusing the two women on a deserted road. One of the accused men was seen pulling one of the women's dupatta as she tried to walk away. The women pleaded with the accused to let them go even as the molesters continued to push and pull the women and block their way on a narrow road. The victims have not been identified yet.
"We have identified the men involved. The main accused has been arrested. We are interrogating him and based on what he says the rest will also be nabbed. We filed an FIR after the videos went viral on social media," Vipin Tada, Superintendent of Police, Rampur, told NDTV.
After coming to power in March this year, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath deployed Anti-Romeo Squads across the state to ensure the safety of women and girls in public places. Law and order continues to be a problem in the state.