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Molest youths return to thrash father

Suri, Jan. 7: Two Birbhum youths who allegedly molested a woman and were slapped by her father today returned with a gang and beat up the man.

The 21-year-old woman was going for her tuition class, escorted by her father, when the two cycle-borne youths allegedly molested her in Suri.

One of the five youths, who police said were school dropouts, was caught by residents when the group was beating the 45-year-old father with sticks. He was handed over to the police.

Later in the afternoon, over 200 residents gheraoed the Suri police station, alleging women in the Birbhum town “were not safe anymore”. The girl’s father lodged a police complaint in the evening.

According to the police, the girl’s father, who works in a jewellery shop, accompanied his daughter to tuitions as it was her first day. On the way, a few metres from her home, the two youths on a bicycle pulled her hand and molested her, the police added. The father then slapped the youths.

“They hurled abuses at me as they fled on their bicycle. Within minutes, they returned with three others and attacked me with sticks,” the girl’s father said.

Alerted by the shouts for help, residents and members of a nearby club rushed in and a scuffle started, the police said. Four of them managed to flee while one was caught.

Residents accused the police of inaction and demonstrated in front of the Suri police station, 300m from the spot where the girl was allegedly molested.

“When the incident took place, some of us had informed the police but they did not come. A team came after about an hour when everything was over,” said Saranjit Mondal, a local trader.

The agitators then blocked the road in front of the district magistrate’s office for two hours, causing a traffic snarl.

The blockade was lifted when the additional superintendent of police assured the crowd that the accused would be arrested in 24 hours. The protesters threatened a larger agitation if the police failed on their promise.

District police chief Murlidhar said: “We have arrested one person. A complaint of molestation has been lodged with us. We have identified all the accused.”

“These youths are school dropouts and their fathers are daily-wage labourers. We raided their homes but they have fled. We will arrest them soon,” a police officer said.