Monday, 30th October 2017

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Kangaroo trial of actress on city road

A Calcuttan returning home from work was told to hold her ears and squat 40 times and she and her driver were ordered to slap each other 10 times by an allegedly drunken trio in Behala last night after one of them thought her car could have grazed him.

By Pronab Mondal in Calcutta
  • Published 20.09.17
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Calcutta, Sept. 19: A Calcuttan returning home from work was told to hold her ears and squat 40 times and she and her driver were ordered to slap each other 10 times by an allegedly drunken trio in Behala last night after one of them thought her car could have grazed him.

Kanchana Moitra, a 37-year-old actress, said several people had passed by during her ordeal at Siriti More but none stopped to help. Her harassers dared her to go to the police. "I have never felt so helpless in my own city before," Moitra, who said she could be identified for this report, told The Telegraph today.

Moitra said she had repeatedly begged forgiveness of her tormentors before spotting a police patrol. She ran towards the patrol, and an officer noticed her.

Her driver had stopped her Maruti Brezza when an object - which turned out to be a stone - hit the vehicle. "I asked my driver to enquire what it was... and both of us rolled down the windowpanes," recounted the actress.

"Two youths appeared and one of them accused the driver of almost mowing him down. They were drunk."

A third youth joined them and started hurling abuse. When Moitra protested and said she would call the police, the third youth put his hand through the window and yanked off the key, Moitra said in her police complaint.

"I was returning from a shoot.... I'm otherwise a brave woman but I was scared after the car key was taken away. I got off the car with my driver and pleaded before them with folded hands. We requested them to forgive us if there was any mistake by my driver," Moitra said.

"But they assaulted my driver. One of them grabbed my shoulder and shoved me. They told me that I had to slap my driver 10 times and he had to slap me back 10 times. Then I was asked to do 40 squats. If they didn't like my squats, I'd have to do 40 more."

Around 20 minutes later, when the police patrol appeared, the trio defended their action. When one of them was told to get into the police vehicle, the other two ran. One of them was picked up early this morning.

The police have identified the arrested men as Shankar Dauli, a taxi driver, and Surajit Panda, a building painter.

The duo, in their mid-20s, have been charged with assault or use of criminal force with intent to outrage a woman's modesty, causing hurt, criminal intimidation and wrongful restraint, punishable by up to five years in jail.