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Model molested, crowd watches

Calcutta, June 18: An A-list model was molested, punched in the nose and dragged towards a car at an upscale city area, but she said the 9.30 pm crowd ignored her cries for help.

Six days after the attack at the Lake View Road-Jatin Das Road crossing, Tina Mukherjee lay in a hospital bed tonight, her nose and temple bandaged and plastered, her eyes swollen, the cotton in her nose specked with blood.

The 26-year-old daughter of actor Mrinal Mukherjee had surgery this morning for multiple fractures in her nose. Tina has been a popular model for five years now.

“It was a nightmare,” she told The Telegraph in a voice lowered to a whisper, recounting how two drunken men attacked her and friend Rahul Roy, dancer Alokananda Roy’s 26-year-old son, a BBA from Berkeley who is also making his mark as a model.

“Rahul and I had stepped out of his home just after 9.30 pm and hailed a taxi. Just then, a maroon Tata Sumo swerved close to us. A man sitting in the back made a grab at me and my bag and tried to drag me towards the car,” Tina said.

When Rahul screamed, the Sumo darted a few yards ahead, then stopped and turned round. Two men got off and attacked Rahul, hitting him on the head “with something hard”. When Tina intervened, she was punched and her nose began bleeding profusely.

“I reeled under the blow and fell to the ground.… What I found most disturbing was that there were all these people standing, just watching. I cried out for help, but no one stepped forward. Finally, a scooterist stopped and the men in the Sumo left,” the former student of Sri Shikshayatan said.

Tina and Rahul lodged a complaint with Lake police station the same night. “Within 40-45 minutes they had picked up both the assailants,” Tina said.

An officer with Lake police station confirmed that Deepankar Singh alias Piku and Pinku Sil alias Puta of Sarat Banerjee Road were picked up. Both are in their mid-20s. Deepankar was driving the Tata Sumo, registered in the name of Bharati Ari, whose husband is in jail.

The police took Tina and Rahul to AMRI Hospitals in Dhakuria, where the young man received three stitches on his head. Tina’s nose was dressed and she was discharged, but an X-ray later revealed fractures.

“I often return home late because of my profession, but I had always felt confident that if there was any trouble on the streets, the people of Calcutta would come forward to help a girl,” Tina said.

“But I now know that people won’t lift a finger even if I am being molested in front of them.”

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