|People gather at the spot where the doctor was allegedly harassed in Malda on Saturday. Picture by Surajit Roy
Malda, Oct. 19: A 26-year-old doctor driving to work in Malda was chased by two motorbike-borne men who allegedly attempted to molest her on a busy highway today and snatched her cellphone and purse when she protested.
The incident took place in front of a police camp, whose personnel allegedly refused help when the lady went there to complain.
The lady, a state health services’ medical officer, had got off her WagonR Stingray to protest when the assailants allegedly abused her and tried to drag her to their motorbike.
Passers-by on the Mothabari-Malda state highway rescued the doctor, thrashed the men and handed them over to the police.
The doctor, who works at the office of the chief medical officer of health in Malda town, alleged that the three National Volunteer Force jawans in the police camp refused to help her when she went there to complain.
The medical officer, who lives with her father near Malda town, said: “The men on the bike started following me when I left home. I tried to drive fast to office but they overtook me at Sadullapur (10km from Malda town) at noon and stopped the bike in front of my car.
“They abused me in filthy language. When I got off my car to protest, they snatched my cellphone, purse and some official files. They grabbed me by my arms and began dragging me towards their bike. I cried for help and passers-by rescued me. They beat up the two men.”
The doctor said she went to the police camp to complain but “none of the personnel came to my aid”.
“As the personnel were unresponsive, I called up my father and some office association members. We went to Englishbazar police station and lodged a complaint of molestation and snatching,” the lady said.
Residents and passers-by threw stones at the police camp and blocked the highway for two hours till 2pm.
A large police contingent led by the inspector-in-charge of Englishbazar police station, Dilip Karmakar, tried to pacify the protesters. The roadblock was lifted after the police assured the agitators that patrolling in the area would be intensified.
Additional superintendent of police Shyam Singh identified the arrested youths as Firoz Sheikh, 34, and Ajit Sheikh, 35.
“Both of them are known anti-socials. They suffered injuries in the mob attack and have been admitted to Malda Medical College Hospital. Englishbazar police have started an investigation,” Singh said.
He did not comment when asked about the allegation that the personnel at the police camp had refused help.
Another police officer said there were cases of snatching and theft against Firoz and Ajit.
A local Trinamul leader said crime in the area had increased and alleged inadequate policing.
Ashok Roy, a former Trinamul gram panchayat pradhan, said: “I was present at the spot when today’s incident took place. I am sorry to say that drunken youths on motorbikes have been spreading panic in the area for the past few days. We have been demanding that the Sadullapur police camp be converted into an outpost and that patrolling be intensified.”