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Jeans turn victim into ‘culprit’

A 16-year-old south Calcutta girl fought off a molester on Sunday night and later got him arrested for trying to barge into her home, only to be berated by neighbours in Haltu for inviting trouble by wearing jeans.

Based on Class X student Rupinka’s complaint, police arrested video editor Tanmay Ghosh, 28, on Monday and charged him with outraging the modesty of a woman, which carries a maximum punishment of two years in jail. But Tanmay, who works for a news channel, was granted bail within a few hours.

Rupinka, who will write her Madhyamik exams from Wednesday, can’t decide which was worse: being molested or being blamed for the molestation. The teenager narrates to Metro her ordeal, off Kasba, on Sunday night.

Sarat Bose Colony Sunday, 10.15pm

I was walking back home from a local cyber café after downloading some reference material for my Madhyamik exams when a group of youths made lewd remarks at me.

I ignored them and kept walking towards my home when I noticed that one of the boys was Tanmayda, the elder brother of a friend of mine. I was stunned when he tugged at my T-shirt from behind — I was in jeans and a tee — and then held me by my shoulders.

I asked him to let me go, at which he held my hand and said that he loved me. He then asked for my phone number. I again pleaded with him to let me go but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He started dragging me towards a street corner. I cried out for help but nobody came.

Tanmayda had first approached me on the eve of Saraswati Puja but I had ignored him. On Sunday night, I was left with no option but to fight back. I somehow freed myself from his clutches and ran towards my home, barely 30 metres from the spot. But Tanmayda and his friends gave chase and caught up with me. This time, the entire group surrounded me.

A friend of mine tried to persuade the group to let me go but they shooed him away. At this point, my aunt stepped out of our house to see what was happening and the group started abusing her, me and my family in the filthiest language possible.

I couldn’t take it anymore. I slapped Tanmayda and ran inside. I slammed the door shut and broke down, little knowing that my troubles weren’t over.

When I narrated the incident to my parents, they consoled me but said that I should forget what had happened and focus on my studies. I agreed to do as I was told but the gang wouldn’t let me live in peace. I soon heard someone banging on our door; it was Tanmayda and his friends. They kept kicking the door and abusing us for almost 20 minutes.

I decided not to take things lying down and lodge a police complaint but my father was against it. He feared that I would be harassed again. “We will have to live here. Learn to ignore the boys, they control the area,” my father advised.

I could have taken the easy way out but I chose not to. After the gang left, me and my mother hired a rickshaw and went to Kasba police station. It was around 12.30am then.

A police team accompanied us back to our locality, made enquiries and picked up Tanmayda after I identified him. As the cops took him away, the entire locality turned on me.

Some women apparently have a problem with me wearing jeans and tees. They have also objected to my straightening my hair. But all my friends dress the way I do. How I dress should be my decision, not my neighbours’.

I still don’t know why they didn’t stand by me on Sunday night. I hope the police do.

His version

I didn’t touch her. She happened to be in my path while I was walking down. She abused me and asked me to move away, which I did. But after some time she came out along with her mother and slapped me hard in front of my friends.

I went to her home to apologise just in case she had misunderstood my words, only to be accused of trying to barge in. I am innocent. I have been framed.

Have you faced harassment in your para over the kind of clothes you wear? Tell

ttmetro@abpmail.com

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