A Japanese woman at the center of a disturbing video that shows her being nonconsensually groped by a group of males in New Delhi, India, has spoken out after the terrifying encounter.
The incident reportedly occurred during last week’s Holi festivities in the neighborhood of Paharganj, a popular spot among tourists.
As seen in the viral video, multiple males surrounded and touched the victim, smeared her face with colored material, cracked an egg on her head and shoved her repeatedly among themselves.
The harrowing scene ends with one of the perpetrators attempting to touch the victim one last time, but the latter slaps him and walks away.
@DelhiPolice @ANI please check this video circulating online where goons are attacking a japanese tourist from Paharganj, decent hotel. She clearly was forced as she slapped at the end and this shows a very negative image of festival and country. pic.twitter.com/mhRUCa8dZw
— Raj (@Sraj101) March 10, 2023
Holi is a Hindu festival that marks the arrival of spring and celebrates the eternal love between gods Krishna and Radha. The celebration comes with a ritual bonfire, food, music, dancing and street festivities that include playing with water guns and colored powder.
The viral video quickly sparked outrage across India, with many apologizing to Megumi and slamming her attackers for tarnishing what was supposed to be a holy celebration.
So far, at least three of the perpetrators — including one minor — have been arrested, according to reports.
“We are all ashamed of what happened to you,” Twitter user @PrinceK78636664 wrote. “We apologize to you. Holi is a holy festival and some of our own people are defaming it. Whoever has done wrong with you will definitely be punished.”
“India’s culture has been of respect for women,” Joint Commissioner Dev Prakash Meena tweeted to the victim. “On Holi, men and women play together with love, but there are some anti-social elements who misbehaved with you in the name of Holi, and all the countrymen have been hurt by this. We apologise.”
India’s culture has been of respect for women, on Holi men and women play Holi together with love, but these are some anti-social elements who misbehaved with you in the name of Holi, all the countrymen have been hurt by this. we Apologise.
— Dev Prakash Meena (@DevprakasMeena) March 12, 2023
The groping victim, identified through her Twitter handle as “Megumi” — and @megu1455 on YouTube — posted the video but deleted it shortly after. In a new thread, she said she was overwhelmed by the resulting attention and apologized to those offended by the video.
“I tweeted the video. After that, the number of RTs and DMs increased more than I had imagined. I was terrified, so I deleted the tweet,” wrote Megumi, who has since returned to Japan. “For those who were offended by watching the video, I am very sorry.”
Megumi said she had prior knowledge that it was dangerous for women to go out by themselves during Holi celebrations.
For this reason, she went out with 35 friends; however, numbers did not help her avoid the incident.
“I would appreciate it if you could understand that I was not trying to convey the abnormalities of the Holi festival in India,” Megumi wrote. “The place where the video was filmed is considered to be one of the most unsafe places in India, and I participated in the festival.”
Despite her experience, the Japanese tourist maintains her love for India and explains that the actual Holi celebration is supposed to be enjoyed by anyone “regardless of skin color or social status.”
She added that local police have promised to strengthen their crackdown against similar harassments.
“Most of all, I love everything about India,” she said. “I have been there many times and it is a fascinating country. It’s a wonderful country that I can’t hate even if I experienced this incident. India and Japan forever.”