Scene I: A young girl is standing on a Chowringhee pavement on Saturday evening. A youth brushes past her and passes a lewd remark. Two plain-clothed men emerge out of nowhere, collar the offender and push him into a police van.
Scene II: At around 8.45 pm, a man in his mid-40s is tailing a young girl from the Dorina crossing. She is aware of his presence but cannot shake him off. As the girl, in salwar-kameez, reaches the JL Nehru Road-S. N. Banerjee Road intersection, the man gets close enough to pass an offensive comment. Three men step out of a police van parked on a shadowy stretch, pin the man down and shove him into the vehicle.
With tease terror on the rise, Calcutta Police chose Saturday night to pull out the tried-and-trusted trick of deploying policewomen in plain clothes on some thoroughfares to catch road Romeos red-handed.
The first phase of the operation against eve-teasing proved “successful”, with officers of Hare Street police station slamming five offenders — from a cellphone-toting youth to a 45-year-old office-goer — from different parts of central Calcutta.
According to Zulfiquar Hasan, deputy commissioner of police, central division, many specific complaints had been reaching the police stations about women being harassed on their way back home from work. “But most victims do not come forward to lodge complaints. So, we decided not to wait and initiate suo motu cases against the offenders picked up in periodic crackdowns,” he added.
According to officials, the drive began on Saturday evening and continued till 10 pm. A lady inspector and three constables (all in salwar-kameez), accompanied by some male officers from Hare Street thana, stalked the Chowringhee, Esplanade and B. B. D. Bag areas, with a patrol jeep and van. They finally caught “Tauhat Kashmi, Md. Salem, Raju Mandal, Md. Akram and Madan Jain” in the act.