| Pratik at the police station. Picture by Pabitra Das
Calcutta, March 9: Pratik Roy, a college student, molested an Israeli tourist this afternoon in the Maidan area and was caught by policemen on duty there after a chase by the lady's companion.
Twenty-five-year-old Yael Cohen, who reached the city with her boyfriend Yair Danliger yesterday, was attacked near JK Island, opposite the Fort William gate, by the B.Com first year student of a north Calcutta college and a resident of Hatiara near Baguiati.
Asked about the incident in the heart of the city, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who never tires of singing the praise of Calcutta as a safe city, said: 'The government is looking into the matter.'
In her complaint to the police, Cohen said around 1.30 pm she and her boyfriend were walking along Casuarina Avenue towards Victoria Memorial. 'We planned to spend a few moments on the lawn overlooking the moat.'
Danliger's shoelace had come undone and he sat on the grass, tying it.
'Pratik was coming from the opposite direction,' said Anuj Sharma, deputy commissioner of police, south.
'He caressed her from behind. Cohen was caught completely unawares since she was looking at Danliger.'
When she realised what had happened, she started screaming and Pratik started to run. 'Danliger too ran after him,' said an officer.
On seeing a foreigner running after a youth, police personnel at the outpost there gave chase. 'The officers pinned him down. He was identified by Cohen who later went to the Maidan police station and lodged a complaint. The accused was booked under section 354 of IPC (outrage of modesty),' said Sharma.
'Initially, we thought it was an incident of snatching or something like that. We chased the youth for about 300 metres and caught him. Then Danliger caught up with us,' said an officer.
When the tourists narrated the incident, the police asked Cohen to identify him and she did, Sharma said.
The police asked the couple to come to the police station. 'Cohen lodged the complaint giving details of the incident. She was on a two-day visit and scheduled to leave Calcutta on Thursday,' Sharma added. Pratik will be produced in court tomorrow.
This is the second time in recent months a tourist has been molested in Calcutta. On the night of Navami last year, a Polish national was the victim.