Calcutta, March 15: For over a year, young Feroza Khatoon has been putting up with physical assault, verbal abuse and sexual innuendoes lest a show of courage exposes her family to danger.
Twenty-five-year-old Feroza, a resident of Haridevpur, beyond Behala, took the bold step today, narrating her torment at the hands of a neighbourhood thug to the director-general of police, Ajay Prasad.
'It's a nightmare being a woman and having to step out of home to earn a living,' she said.
Feroza, a graduate, gives tuition every day and often takes her 56-year-old father, Sheikh Abdul Rashid, who has throat cancer, to the Thakurpukur Cancer Hospital for chemotherapy.
A local youth, Jiyad Ali Sheikh, has allegedly been harassing her for a year after Feroza turned down his proposal to marry him.
'Ever since, he has been pulling my hand and hits me from behind,' Feroza said.
The family, living in a three-bedroom single-storeyed house for the last 45 years, felt helpless in the face of repeated assaults by Jiyad.
On March 9, he grabbed her on the road. After she extricated herself from his clutches and ran home, Feroza told her older brother Maqbool about the incident. When Maqbool protested the next day, Jiyad beat him up. Brother and sister were both threatened to be killed.
'Jiyad also keeps dropping pornographic pictures and messages with sexual content in our bathroom,' Feroza said.
He has sabotaged marriage proposals for Feroza from families of other boys.
Feroza's tormentor was, in fact, brought up by her uncle who lives next door. But Jiyad dropped out of school and when he began to engage in activities the family did not approve of, he was asked to leave. He decided to take revenge, turning his wrath on Feroza.
When she could take it no longer, Feroza confided in her friend, Rumki Chakraborty. They went to a police outpost under Thakurpukur police station.
'The officer we saw ' A.K. Saha ' was extremely rude. He banged the table, trying to intimidate us,' Rumki said.
'We submitted the pornographic photographs to the officer and requested him not to open the packet before us. But every now and then he would appear to open it, making us feel awkward,' she added.
'When he heard the matter was going on for a year, he asked why I took so long to make a complaint. He even suggested I must have provoked Jiyad,' Feroza said.
A complaint was lodged at the outpost today, but 'their approach was so casual' that the two women decided to take it up at the highest level of the police.
Prasad said: 'The complaint wasn't very clear. An appointment was fixed for them from Writers' with the police station and she was asked to make a fresh complaint. We will arrest the man.'
Action would be taken if the officer was found to have been rude, he added.