Calcutta, March 16: On Sunday afternoon, a seven-year-old girl cried out in pain after being molested by her next-door neighbour at Lake Gardens.
The night before, a few kilometres away, a Class X student of a reputed school had a forgettable night out when two drunks pounced on her as she was waiting with her parents to enter a central Calcutta eatery.
And, last Tuesday, a known face on the telly (a popular actress) faced the same ordeal — she was taking home food from an eatery on Lansdowne Road — from another drunk who lived across the street and had come down for a packet of cigarettes.
Calcutta, it appears, couldn’t get any uglier. From the chief minister’s daughter — cat-called as she was returning home from a friend’s place — to sergeant Bapi Sen, who gave his life trying to protect a woman from his colleagues in the same force, women don’t appear safe.
The latest in the series of crimes against women occurred today as Lake Gardens was retiring for an afternoon siesta. Soma Nandi (name changed) went to neighbour Haran Bag’s place to watch television, little knowing that the “kaku” she had known for quite some time — an employee of a private firm — would turn the big, bad wolf.
She screamed out in pain. Other neighbours gathered around her and handed over Bag to Lake police.
On Saturday evening, Ritu Bagaria (again, name has been changed) was waiting with her mother outside a popular vegetarian-only eatery at the crossing of Park Street and Free School Street as her father parked their car across the road.
A motorcycle emerged out of the night — it was around 10 pm — and, before anyone knew what was happening, Ritu was being serenaded: “Aa gale lag jaa, pyar kar le.” The two boys started groping at her as well.
Her father shouted out for help as a police foot-patrol intervened. Head constable Shanti Ghosh caught the bike, throwing off both riders. One, however, sped away, leaving his friend stranded in the hands of the police.
It transpired that 22-year-old Md Sohail on his night out — it was his birthday — had thrown a bash for his friends at a Park Street watering hole. The liquor flowed but Sohail and his friend Tabraz Almas Khan decided that they were yet to have enough of life. So they stepped out in search of some more “fun” as their other friends trooped back home.
Sohail (son of a rich businessman dealing in ophthalmic equipment) was brought to Park Street police station and squealed. Tabraz, employed at a prominent call centre, was rounded up from a friend’s place in Burrabazar where he had stayed for the night as “he could not go home with a smelly mouth”, police said.
Last Tuesday, 24-year-old Tanaya Basu (not her real name) came out of a Lansdowne eatery to land in the arms of — yet again — a man having no worry in life, moneywise. He, too, molested her before others gathered and called Lake police and handed him over to them. The man, Arpit Sen, is now out on bail.