The camera sees it all: An eyewitness account from Bengaluru

By: Maitreyee Boruah
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Bengaluru, Jan 10: Hello, friends. It's nice to see you all. I am a CCTV camera installed in a small corner of your favourite Brigade Road in Bengaluru.

In all probability, you've not noticed me. Nobody does, not just you. While I can see all of you and all of it, you perhaps just look through me.

The camera sees it all: An eyewitness account from Bengaluru

In the most 'vibrant place' (by the virtue of sheer number of footfall Brigade Road witnesses daily) in the city, buzzing with youthful vigour, who would bother to check on a camera?

Next time, when you come for a cup of coffee or to meet a friend on Brigade Road, just look around, I am there, looking at you and everyone else closely, as closely as one gets to do so.

It is frightening, isn't it? That someone gets to see everything. But trust me, it's scarier for me. What I get to see is not always nice. It can turn any 'normal' person into a lunatic. I am pretty strong for that matter. I am not shattered yet, I don't feel the need to go and see a shrink. My eyes and their sight are still strong, after what I saw on New Year's Eve.

Oh that night... I was happy, slightly drunk, like all of you, and even swaying a bit to the foot-tapping music all around me. The most beautiful sight was to see so many of you descending on Brigade Road. Friends, lovers, brothers, sisters... all of you were here with hope in your eyes for a happy 2017.

After all, last year saw us going through a lot-- from dancing to the tunes of the regime's diktats (demonetisation) to being distant observers of never-ending wars in faraway lands like Syria. We saw and survived all that.

In the midst of all the partying and euphoria, suddenly everything changed. In the blink of an eye that happy evening turned into chaos. Girls, boys, men in uniforms... suddenly everyone started running - while some of you were running after a few women, others were running from you.

I immediately gathered my senses and realised it was time to get back to work. After that I didn't miss a single thing and watched everything with my eyes wide open. The rest, as they say is history.

Next what I saw was even more horrifying.

While all concerned citizens raised alarm against what happened, the police and politicians decided to remain in denial.

Our leaders even went on to question the 'morality' of women and justified the night (of horror). But how could I or others like me deny what we saw? Call it a professional hazard or our fate, we are not supposed to turn a blind eye towards the reality.

It's my job to see and tell you the truth while it's your choice to follow or ignore that. No matter how many pairs of eyes like me watch and follow you, it won't help unless you open your eyes to the reality around you. Until then, see you!

Disclaimer: The events in this article are narrated from a CCTV camera's 'point of view'.

Back in 2015, in order to provide 24x7 surveillance across Bengaluru, over 3,500 CCTV cameras were installed in various vantage points and popular spots across the city, under the Mega City Project.

On January 2, after Bangalore Mirror, with pictures splashed all over its front page, reported in detail how girls/women were attacked in what we now call the infamous Bengaluru mass molestation episode, CCTV cameras too were drawn into the eye of a controversy.

Faced with severe criticism, the Congress government in Karnataka, led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, has decided to install 5,000 more CCTV cameras in various sensitive locations across the city.

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