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Girl molested on busy stretch

A final-year engineering student was allegedly molested and her male friend assaulted for putting up a fight on Santragachhi Station Road in Howrah on Dashami afternoon.

One of the accused, Akash Kahar, was arrested hours after the girl lodged a complaint. The other is on the run.

The two students of a private engineering college on the southern fringe of Calcutta were on their way to a friend’s home on a two-wheeler when they were caught in a traffic snarl caused by an altercation between a group of youths and a taxi driver.

After waiting for a few minutes, the girl, a resident of Ramrajatala Road in north Howrah, and her classmate decided to walk the stretch.

“One of the youths grabbed my hand and started hurling obscene comments and expletives,” the girl said.

When her friend confronted the youth, he was allegedly kicked, slapped and beaten up with a bamboo pole.

“When I raised the alarm, the youth and his friend, who had joined him in the assault, fled. A police patrol van had reached the spot by then. I asked the cops for help and they advised me to lodge a complaint with Santragachhi police station,” said the girl, who went to the police station with her father.

The spot where the incident occurred is a few metres away from the offices of the Government Railway Police and the Railway Protection Force.

It is a busy stretch dotted with several tea stalls and eateries. Hundreds of passengers going to and from Santragachhi station use the road.

“It was 3.15 in the afternoon. There were many people in the nearby tea stalls and eateries. I could not have imagined such an incident happening in the presence of so many people,” the girl said.

The police said both the accused are residents of areas near Santragachhi station. They have been booked under sections 354 (molestation), 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC.

“We have arrested Aakash Kahar, 23, on the basis of the complaint lodged by the girl. Another accused is absconding. We hope to arrest him soon,” said Nishat Pervez, deputy commissioner (headquarter), Howrah.

Disease outbreak

More than 400 residents of ward 11 in North Dum Dum Municipality have been affected by gastroenteritis. According to civic officials, a water supply pipe had burst near Pathanpur in Birati, leading to the outbreak. Sources said 49 people have been admitted to Infectious Diseases Hospital in Beleghata.

The pipe was repaired on Tuesday night.