A 20-year-old BTech student who dialled the police helpline from a moving bus after being allegedly molested by a co-passenger, followed him when he got off and alerted a cop on the road to ensure his arrest.
The second-year student said her other co-passengers in the crowded bus either jeered her for protesting or kept quiet barring one woman who gave her the number of the Calcutta police’s helpline for women in distress (1091).
Ignoring the jeers and despite not hearing from the cops after her complaint at the helpline, the student followed her tormentor off the bus at the Sinthee crossing around 3pm and started screaming for help. Her screams alerted a sergeant on the road who got hold of the man, identified as Lal Chand Agarwal, 43.
Both Agarwal and the victim were taken to Cossipore police station where he was arrested on the basis of a complaint she registered.
“They (police) were very prompt in their action once they got hold of the man. But it is just that I was feeling so helpless even after calling the helpline as no one called me back to know my current location or my condition in the moving bus despite promising to do so,” the student said sitting at her home on the northern fringes of the city on Monday evening.
“When this man tried to get down at Sinthee, I decided to chase him with or without anyone’s help, and so I got off the bus,” she added.
The girl who studies in a private engineering college at Sankrail in Howrah had boarded the bus from Hedua, where she was visiting her former school. “I boarded a Dakshineswar-bound minibus and sat in the second-last seat of the bus. This man boarded the bus from Shyambazar crossing and walked towards the back seat. But while passing my seat, he molested me. I protested. Everyone heard but no one supported me. Emboldened, this man, who had two of his shirt’s top buttons unbuttoned and was chewing paan leered at me,” she recalled.
It was then that a co-passenger gave her the helpline number. She dialled the number a few metres off Shyamabzar crossing around 2.40pm.
Senior police officers later claimed that two phone calls had been made to the local Cossipore police station — one from the women grievance cell and the other from the 1091 helpline — after the woman had called the helpline.
The incident happened on a day the city police launched Sukanya — a programme for self-defence of girl students across the schools.
beware of female fists of fury
She turned him over and slammed him on the floor. He lay flat with folded hands. A group of women showed on Monday how to hit men where it hurts.
The occasion was the launch of Sukanya, a Calcutta police initiative to train girl students of 32 schools across the city how to fight off the harasser. Metro had reported on February 20 how the lessons in fightback had become a necessity in a city that ranks third in crimes against women. A Class X girl
of a south Calcutta school who was in the audience on Monday said she was thrilled at the thought “of being able to give it back”. Her feeling would find an echo
in women everywhere who feel threatened ever so often on the road. “At the end of the (three-month) training, the girls will get a certificate and a pepper spray,” police commissioner Surajit Kar Purkayastha said at Khudiram Anushilan Kendra. We watched a group of trained women in action.
A schoolgirl shows even the formidable sari, which many still wear to class, isn’t a deterrent if she knows how to work her hands and knees. When a couple of men target girls her age who are not trained in self-defence, she grabs one by the neck, throws him over her back and then hurts the other with her knee
A young Calcutta police constable is walking down the road when a man attacks her from behind with a knife. She evades the attack and kicks him hard. The attacker is grounded
A girl is speaking on her mobile when two men start stalking her. Trained in judo, she can handle them alone. She locks them, throws them and chokes them
A homemaker is walking down the road when she is assaulted. She has a small wooden tool in the shape of a dumbbell in her purse that she uses to counter-attack. She then uses her knee to hit him between the legs
A college girl is returning home when a boy teases her. She tries to avoid him twice but in vain. He tries to touch her from behind when she takes her water bottle and hits him on the head. But the boy knows martial arts and retains his composure. That is when she launches a ferocious kick. He falls flat
A college girl is waiting for her friend when two boys tug
at her dupatta. When she slaps one of them, they decide
to grab her. The bespectacled girl uses her full force to kick the boy who is holding her legs. Taken aback, the boy lets go of her leg. She then turns to the other boy and uses a pen
to hit him on the temple, below the ear or eyes and then
on the side of the neck. Knockout!
Pictures by Sanat Kumar Sinha