Calcutta, May 14: A 25-year-old housewife, Anu Halder, was beaten up and nearly stripped by a gang of youths after she slapped one of them, who was teasing her.
The incident took place late on Thursday evening at Teghoria in Sonarpur on the southern fringes of the city when the woman and her husband, an engineering student of Jadavpur University, went to the group under duress for a 'settlement'.
Based on a complaint lodged by the victim yesterday against prime accused Naba Mondal and six others, including one Kashi Nashkar, with the Sonarpur police station, a probe has begun.
Late this evening, the police arrested Naba on charges of molestation.
'An inquiry revealed that Naba was clearly involved in this incident and had masterminded the retaliation. More arrests are likely,' said South 24-Parganas superintendent of police S.N. Gupta.
According to the complaint, Anu, a resident of Sahebpara in Sonarpur, was on her way to offer tuition on Thursday evening when Naba started stalking her on a bicycle.
Even as she stepped up pace, he followed her making passes. Midway, Anu spotted one of her husband's acquaintances and told him how Naba was teasing her from behind. The two walked up to him.
'In the midst of the heated deliberation that followed, she slapped the youth and he left on his cycle,' said one of the investigating officers.
Some time later, he returned with 25-30 youths and barged into the rented house of the Halders. With Anu not around, they threatened her husband and left saying they would attack her unless they turned up for the settlement.
As word spread, the house owner and neighbours suggested to Arindam that he should go with his wife and settle the issue with the youths. When the couple went, Naba and his gang surrounded them and began beating them up.
Arindam tried to resist, but was woefully outnumbered. Desperate to teach them a lesson, the youths tried to strip his wife when, alerted by her cries, a few people gathered and bailed her out. Some of them later offered her a sari and escorted them home.
Still in pain, the couple could not, however, muster the strength to walk up to the police station.
They lodged the complaint the next day.
The police raided several hideouts across Sonarpur yesterday, but without any success. Today, one of the officers learnt that Naba had returned home. 'A police team rounded him up almost immediately,' said a Sonarpur officer.