In a crowded marketplace with people dressed in their best clothes, a man in a red shirt walks around as a camera follows him surreptitiously. He passes a young girl - a minor - and in the pretext of navigating the crowd, he touches her inappropriately. As he goes forward, he does it again to the unsuspecting girl.
Cut to the next scene - the same man is standing uncomfortably close to a woman in a pink saree, behind her. He touches her inappropriately, and even as she swats his hand away, he persists. The camera, unknown to him, continues to capture his antics.
He's just one of the 30 people who were caught on camera by the SHE team of the Hyderabad police for harassing women and girls during Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in the city. Among the 30 arrested, including him, are eight minor boys.
The outrageous video illustrates how crowded places with 'family crowd' assembled for religious events can be as dangerous for women and girls as isolated ones.
"While the teams were observing several locations, some people were following the procession and sprinkling water on women. Some were throwing water packets. Some people were caught for throwing paper pieces and flowers on women. Some were taking selfies with women without their knowledge. Some were blowing whistles and shouting at the ladies," the city police said in a statement.
"Some of them followed and stalked the women. Few others were trying to touch the ladies inappropriately in an inebriated condition. All these activities were video recorded and the accused were caught red handed with video evidence," it stated.
Speaking to TNM, Swathi Lakra, additional Commissioner of Police (Crimes & SIT) who also heads the SHE teams, said that her team worked on the evidence they were able to gather.
"We file cases when we have ample evidence. During festivals, some men believe they can get away with this kind of behaviour. That is the reason why SHE teams captured these incidents on camera," she said.
In cases where the woman is not willing to be a complainant, the team normally files a suo moto case under the Hyderabad Police Act.
"Many a times, we have literally begged women to file complaints. But if they are not ready, we take the cases suo motu. We also insist on attendance and the accused has to come and sign the attendance every week. We also inform their families of their actions," the officer said.
Swathi added that due to affirmative action, these kinds of incidents have gone down near girls schools and colleges in the city.
Many on social media asked why the women, who were being harassed, did not raise an alarm.
Responding to them, Swathi said, "Women have become so used to being molested at public places. They don't even think about raising a voice. They are worried about becoming a spectacle themselves and that no one will believe them if they asked for help."