Bhubaneswar, June 19: A 22-year-old girl slapped a bus conductor for touching her inappropriately near Palamandap in Cuttack yesterday.
The incident took place when the girl was returning here after work from Cuttack on Sunday. The inappropriate behaviour of the conductor and her instant reaction became public knowledge when she took to the social media to narrate her ordeal.
Taking a strong note of the post, police commissioner Y.B. Khurania has advised the girl to lodge a formal complaint.
"The girl needs to lodge a complaint so that action can be initiated by us. We will go though the post and see what action (suo motu) can be taken," said Khurania.
In her Facebook post, the girl said the incident took place when the conductor was trying to accommodate more passengers in the already over-crowded bus.
"As it was getting late, I decided to board the bus but it was too crowded and almost impossible to stand inside. The conductor was pushing the passengers, including women, to create more space," wrote the girl in her post.
The girl, a native of Jagatsinghpur, said that she got infuriated to see the conductor touch women passengers inappropriately.
"They were enraged at his behaviour, but did not resist. When he tried to touch me in a similar manner, I slapped him. I started shouting at him after which other passengers, including women, joined me. He quietly withdrew from the place and moved forward," reads the post.
The girl said elderly passengers in the bus supported her in her act, but several young boys witnessed the act but kept mum. They were whispering among themselves after I slapped him. I was thinking when such incidents will come to an end," wrote the girl in Odia on her Facebook wall.
The girl said that such incidents could only be prevented with the intervention of co-passengers.
"Neither the police, nor the government can prevent such incidents. Co-passengers, who often remain mute spectators, can intervene and stop it. The incident certainly has upset me. But the conductor instead of feeling ashamed told me that such kind of incidents happen in crowded buses. He told this while I was alighting from the bus at the CRP Square," she said.
This is the second such incident of women passengers facing sexual harassments in moving bus in the last three months.
In March, co-passengers had harassed a woman journalist while she was travelling in a bus to Cuttack from Kendrapara. However the girl, who took the help of the Facebook to narrate her ordeal, did not wish to lodge a formal complaint with the police.
Inspector in-charge of the Mahila Police station, Iman Kalyan Nayak, said: "Those who are harassed should react immediately and alert other passengers present in the bus at that time. They can also call up the police helpline 100 or 181 for assistance."
She advised those facing sexual harassment not to shy away, but lodge formal complaints with the nearest police station.
"If it is not possible as the bus is running, the harassed person should report the incident to the police after getting off. We have been asking women to adopt techniques of self-defence during such incidents. Other than the harassed person, co-passengers can also report the matter to the police or lodge complaints," Nayak said.