In an online environment where information spreads in seconds and where often the only difference between truth, falsehood and exaggeration is how assertively do you present it and whether the faction you support has a sufficient number of trolls, it has become important to separate one (news) from the other (falsehood and exaggeration).
As the news spread of hooligans groping and molesting women who had gathered to celebrate the New Year's eve on 31 December in the central Bengaluru areas of MG Road, Brigade Road and Church Street, certain reports claimed that the Karnataka Home Minister G Parmeshwara blamed the incident on "Western clothes", "western mindset" and defended the molestation incident as "something happens".
Needless to say, the reports generated a lot of outrage both within and outside social media as several media outlets (print, video and digital) played it over and over again, and criticising the Karnataka minister for his sexist statement.
— ANI (@ANI_news) January 2, 2017
Despite repeated demands from both womenfolk, activists and the media for the Karantaka minister to apologise for his statement, Parmeshwara once again on Thursday said that he comment was presented out of question. So, the question here is: did Parmeshwara actually defend the molestation incident as reported and blamed it on "western clothes" of women?
Here's a transcript of the video, which was referred to across media outlets:
"New year events, you know, Brigade Road, Commercial Street, or MG Road, large number of youngsters gather. And youngsters were almost like Westerners. They try to copy the Western, not only in their mindset but even the dressing. You know, some disturbance, some girls are harassed. This kind of things do happen. That's why this year we had deployed more than 500 policemen and also women mainly in plain clothes so that we can regulate them. (sic)"
Parmeshwara didn't justify the incident anywhere in the video. Here, you can listen to his statement yourself.
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) January 2, 2017
He was actually referring to old incidents that have happened in the past. And when he said "These kind of things do happen", he is very plausibly referring to the often occurrence of a crime (in this case molestation). Like, in his words, molestations do happen in New Year just like drunk driving, thefts etc. But accepting the occurrence of certain types of crimes is not defending it.
The minister accepted the occurrence of incidents of "molestations" expressing his concern and to emphasise the security arrangements planned for New Year's Eve. And if you pay close attention to Parmeshwara's words, you will realise, nowhere in his statement did he defend the molestation incident as claimed in the news reports. Try listening to it a second time in this longer version of the statement:
He, however, does talk about the western mindset and clothing of youngsters, and indirectly blames disturbances and harassment of girls that takes place in New Year on that. And that mindset is definitely not expected from a minister. Parmeshwara, however, nowhere condemns the "western clothing" or "mindset" of the youngsters.
Our fact-check rating for the reports that Karnataka home minister G Parameshwara defended molestation incident is "not true", whereas if blamed "Western mindset" and "clothes" is "somewhat true".
Updated Date: Jan 05, 2017 15:16 PM