Calcutta woman molested in a moving auto, jumps off
A woman in her 20s was allegedly molested in a moving autorickshaw by a fellow passenger on VIP Road on Saturday night, forcing her to jump off the vehicle when it slowed down near the Haldirams bus stop.
The woman mentioned in her complaint that the man got off the vehicle after her and started trailing her, prompting her to raise an alarm. He ran away after residents and passersby gathered hearing her screams.
The woman, an employee of an IT firm, hired a rickshaw and went to Baguiati police station to lodge a complaint. The accused, Rameshwar Lal Bhagat, 38, was arrested hours later.
“The woman boarded the auto from airport gate No. 1 around 11pm and was on the rear seat. She alleged her co-passenger used criminal force to outrage her modesty,” an officer said.
Bhagat, who did odd jobs for a living, has been booked under IPC section 354, which deals with using criminal force for outraging modesty. If convicted, he can be jailed for up to five years.
The woman, who was on her way home near Haldirams, was sitting on the extreme left of the rear seat. The accused was in the middle and another man was on the extreme right.
The woman said in her complaint that soon after boarding the auto she felt uncomfortable as the accused was sitting “unnaturally close” to her. She protested after the three-wheeler crossed the airport gate number 1 intersection.
“The man kept touching me inappropriately. At first I thought it was unintentional but soon I could feel his hands all over me. I repeatedly asked the driver to stop but he kept driving. None of the co-passengers protested. The auto slowed down near the Haldirams bus stop and I jumped out,” the officer quoted the woman as saying.
The man, too, got off the three-wheeler and started following her. “I turned around and saw him smirking. I shouted for help and got on a rickshaw,” the woman told the cops.
A police team rushed to the spot after the woman narrated the incident to officers of Baguiati police station. The cops talked to local people, identified the man and arrested him.
“We are looking for the auto driver. We will ask the driver why he did not stop despite being asked to do so by the woman,” an officer of the Bidhannagar commissionerate said.
“It’s good that women are reporting such incidents. Earlier, they would endure such assaults in silence.”
Another officer said women were vulnerable in autos because of the cramped condition. “At times, men assault a co-passenger on the pretext of adjusting their arms.”