Two women walking home after rehearsals for a dance recital to be staged during Durga Puja were allegedly stalked and harassed by men unloading sand from a truck in New Town’s BC Block on Thursday night, police said.
Many women who live in New Town and work in offices in the township or in Sector V prefer to walk back home after their shift. Many choose to take a stroll after dinner as roads are emptier then.
The two women, both in their late-20s, faced harassment moments after they had walked out of the dance rehearsal at the club house in New Town’s BC Block.
One of the two women said several trucks were parked along the road leading to street 147 and 157 and they heard catcalls and lewd remarks made by some men who were unloading sand from one of the trucks.
“The stretch where this happened is dark. Although there are street lights, the canopy of overgrown trees casts long shadows,” said the woman.
The women protested and walked towards a group of residents who were chatting some distance away. The harassers allegedly stalked the women for some time but fled on seeing the bigger group.
The residents confronted the harassers. Soumodeep Maity, the secretary of BD Block, said when they asked the men to get off the truck, they started shovelling sand on the residents.
Maity, who is a member of the New Town Resistance Group, called the police. A team from New Town police station went to the spot and picked up two men.
An officer of the Bidhannagar commissionerate said the men had initially denied the allegations.
“But they broke down during questioning and admitted that they had made lewd comments at the women. They said they had thought no one would protest because the stretch was desolate,” the officer said.
A resident of BC Block said they had asked officials of the New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) to trim the trees and also complained about the trucks parked in lanes.
An NKDA official said they would look into the complaints.
“Parked trucks are a menace here. They often block roads and drivers and labourers are spotted drinking on roads,” said Samaresh Das, a member of the New Town Forum and News.