A 28-year-old homemaker, accompanied by 200 neighbours of Bagunhatu slum on the eastern fringes of the city, on Wednesday hauled a 20-year-old man to Sidhgora police station and had him arrested on charges of molestation.
The woman said Nanka Kumar Shaw, who had been making vulgar passes at her for a week, entered her home in the densely populated slum on Wednesday around 10am, grabbed her, hit her and tried to molest her. According to her, she screamed for help, managed to hit him on the head and handed him over to her neighbours.
Together, they took Nanka to Sidhgora thana, where the police registered a case under IPC Sections 323 and 354 (assault and use of force with criminal intent to outrage a woman’s modesty).
Nanka, sporting a bandage on his head, has been forwarded to Ghaghidih Central Jail on the basis of the woman’s written complaint.
The incident, 10 days after the Delhi gang rape, is among the series of incidents that underscore the insecurity of women across all age, income and education groups.
Nanka, who admitted to fighting with the woman, said he did not look at her sexually.
“How can I look at her with bad intention when she is eight years older to me? I have been implicated,” said the unemployed youth.
This defence does not hold ground as countless rape victims are older than their perpetrators. But Nanka, regardless of whether allegations against him are proven or not, has laid bare a dangerous assumption that only young girls can be sexually attacked.
Opinions are divided over the molestation charge.
“It may not be an exact case of molestation, but the youth is a nuisance and people sided with the woman,” a slum dweller said, hinting the charge could have been a way to settle scores and get the youth jailed.
Sidhgora assistant sub-inspector of police Gopi Paswan, the investigating officer in the case, said they arrested the youth on the basis of a written complaint against him of molestation and assault.
“When so many people turned up at the police station to support the woman, there must be a grain of truth in the victim’s complaint,” he said. “Whether Nanka molested her or not will be clear after probe. We got him treated medically for his injuries,” Paswan said.