A young woman who was allegedly harassed on a crowded Metro train on Monday morning got off six stations before her destination to pursue her tormentor and get him arrested.
The woman, a college student, had boarded the train at Sovabazar Metro station and was standing near one of the doors of the crowded compartment when she was allegedly targeted by a 43-year-old private tutor.
“There was this man standing next to me in that packed compartment and he started harassing me on the sly. When I protested, he denied having done anything and was backed by other male passengers. Nobody stood up for me. They made me feel it was my fault,” she recounted.
The woman wasn’t ready to give up, though. As the train stopped at MG Road station and the accused alighted, she followed him, asking him to stop and face her.
A crowd soon milled around the woman and her alleged tormentor, who witnesses said didn’t make any attempt to escape. Metro Railway Police intervened before others could get involved and informed Jorasanko police station, which sent a team to fetch the woman and the accused.
“She gave us a written complaint, based on which we started a case under Section 354A of the IPC. The accused was arrested,” a police officer said.
The man charged with harassing the complainant is a resident of Anandapuri, in Barasat. He told investigators that he had got off at MG Road station not to escape but to go to the home of one of his students.
The young woman who got him arrested was to alight at Rabindra Sadan station. She said the lack of support from many of her fellow commuters, all of them male, made her more determined to pursue her alleged tormentor.
“It was shocking. I can still hear the loud voices of the male passengers, some of whom were mocking me. They said I was trying to falsely implicate this man in a police case,” the woman said. “This could happen to anyone. Women should not keep mum. Protesting and ensuring the guilty is punished is the way to change how people behave.”
In an almost similar incident last month, another young woman had followed her alleged harasser after getting off a bus at the Sinthi crossing on BT Road. The accused was arrested.
Calcutta, once counted among the safest of Indian cities for women, has had its record tarnished over the past few years.
The city now ranks third in terms of crimes reported against women, according to the National Crime Records Bureau’s annual report for 2012.
Calcutta police have launched a campaign called Sukanya to train schoolgirls across institutions in self-defence techniques culled from various martial arts.