Real life molestation caught on camera
This blog post is about last year’s new year’s incident (2007) as well as this year’s (2008).
On New Year’s Eve, a Midday reporter Shadab Khan caught on camera a crowd of about sixty people surrounding a young girl and her boy-friend at the Gateway of India in Mumbai. The reporter got these pictures from a height -he was atop a police post trying to capture the spirit of the revellers. As the clock struck midnight the screaming girl was pawed and manhandled by the thugs surrounding her and her boy-friend was roughly pushed aside. In the melee her dress was torn and she fell down. One doesn’t know exactly how but the couple managed to extricate themselves from the crowd and run away. No police complaint was filed. Today, the Colaba Police is planning to undertake an investigation into the incident and has taken the pictures from the reporter.
Shadab Khan writes about how shocked he is at the incident and wonders how such a thing could happen in Mumbai. Even today the press is writing about how shocking the whole incident is. That only Delhi is supposedly notorious for this kind of public behavior.
Well, I think the press should wake up and speak to a few ladies who travel by public transport or have been caught in crowds. Only then they can shed the illusion that these things happen only in Delhi. Whether it is Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune or Calcutta, there are always cheap sex crazy elements lying in wait to molest women. Pornography, which is now freely available on the internet has just whetted their appetite.
I have lived in all the cities mentioned above and have had the bad luck of being pawed in all the cities. True, my experiences in Delhi (I studied there) were the maximum (movie theatre, shop, roads, buses) but I have also been pawed in the Calcutta metro, in a Ganpati Visarjan (holy procession) on Pune’s Laxmi Road and in a crowded kirana (grocery) store in Bangalore! In Mumbai? Just once at a railway station while waiting for a local. In fact these are the only incidents that I remember. I am not even counting the incidents (if you can call them that) when men tried to touch or brush past in the hope of grabbing a feel. I am not even counting the incidents of the scores of men I have seen exposing themselves at railway stations, bus stations and once even on a hill where I had gone for a walk! And I don’t even wear sleeveless! I am considered a prude when it comes to dress-sense.
The sad truth is that every woman who travels daily by public transport has encountered perverts, and her dress doesn’t matter. Once when I was wearing a saree, a young boy came from behind and grabbed me. He was on a cycle.
All this often makes me long for a sexually promiscuous society so that these sick men can go and do it with willing women instead of bothering strangers.
Well, these incidents are in the past now. For the past ten years or so I have been moving around in a car or at the worst – in a rickshaw. So I am safe. I avoid crowded places and so do all the women I know.
Wonder why the press doesn’t know it? Surely they have women reporters? Or are we simply being hypocritical?
(Photos are sourced from Midday)
5th January: The police have arrested the guilty men, all teenagers residing in the slums of Ghakopar. You can find the details here in a Midday report. However, the girl has not come forward to register a complaint and therefore one wonders what action can be taken.
Also, more women have come forward and admitted to the problems they have had with roadside romeos. Thankfully the press covered this in detail today. This should hopefully lead to a public awareness campaign to educate people how terrible a woman feels when she is molested.
Later update: It has also come to light that the girl who was molested was an Indian American girl.
Another shameful incident took place on 26th September in Mumbai: Girls, some of them from Jai Hind College were molested near Wankhede Stadium on Marine Drive in Mumbai in the crowds when our cricket team was returning from the airport in an open bus. This was an open bus which the cricketers rode in and huge crowds thronged the roads on either side. An opportunity that molesters took.
This is the link:
The girls were molested very badly and apparently a lot more girls were molested and seen crying on the side of the road. Groups of men surrounded the girls and did whatever they could.
This sort of thing is a part and parcel of Indian society now and everyone should beware. No Indian city is safe. The police do nothing and give stupid statements like these things did not happen at one time. They always happened in India and always will unless these offenders are put behind bars for at least 10 years. Is that harsh punishment for these molesters? I don’t think so. No girl is safe in crowds in any city in India.
Update: 2nd January 2008. Another shameful incident which has been reported by the Hindustan Times today. The link is here. What happened was that two women were molested by a group of 4-5 men but a mob of 70-80 men was watching and did nothing. One woman was with her husband and there was another couple with them. They were coming out of the Marriot Hotel at around 1 a.m., when the incident happened. The fact that these people are sure that they will get away is proved by the fact that they do not care if they are caught on camera. The molesters of last year got away because apparently the girl didn’t come forward to complain. Even in the earlier incident, of the molestation which happened in the crowds cheering the cricket fans, the same thing happened. The girls did not complain. And the molesters got away. In any case, such incidents are very common in cities. The police do nothing. Molestation is considered a minor crime.
I know someone who was out on New Years Eve at Juhu. She was in a group of girls who were returning home from Juhu and their car was stuck in a traffic jam around midnight. They had gone to a restaurant just ten minutes walk from their home but chose to go in their car. They were stuck in the car for over an hour, but they did not step out. This girl tells me:
Hordes of men in huge groups were walking around on the road and we were amazed. There were all-male groups and we couldn’t understand what they were doing, just walking on the road!
It’s shocking the way the police commissioner has reacted to this incident. He says it’s a trivial one. Sure, we understand that the police cannot monitor each and every group that walks on the roads, but they can definitely stop people walking around in groups of 20-30! And they can take action against the molesters. Up till now the molesters have not been arrested even though they were caught on camera.
Jan 3rd. It’s been revealed that the couples were from California, United States. One couple had got married just the day before according to a tv news report and the other two were the man’s brother and cousin sister.
A second incident took place in Kochi, and this link was sent to me by a reader via a comment. You can see the video of the news report here. Apparently the molester was so brazen that he molested the 15 year old daughter of a foreign tourist as the tourist was being interviewed on TV and was recounting his wonderful experiences of India!
Pune Incident on New Years Eve 2008: There was another incident where a group of five to six men were allegedly clicking pictures of a UK based NRI woman, her spouse and another couple. When the couples objected, the drunk men attacked them. You can read about the incident here.
Incident at Kolkata (2008). The Times of India has reported:
When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s eve (, a horror story unfolded on Kolkata’s entertainment hot spot. Bikes took control of Park Street, the nervecentre of Christmas and New Year revelry. And the transition from 2007 to 2008 was not without girls being groped by unknown hands, humiliated, some shedding tears; their companions struggling to protect and console them…TOI had carried an investigative report on the previous year’s New Year’s eve where revellers were snapped molesting girls on Park Street. It prompted a bigger deployment of police force, but they could not stop the horror re-run…
Update: 19th February 2008. A foreigner was molested in the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad yesterday. She was looking at pictures of India’s Freedom struggle when two drunk men entered, grabbed and kissed her. The staff managed to catch one of them, but the other escaped. What’s shocking is that no complaint is being filed! Read the story here.
Related Reading: Reasons and Solutions for Molestation
Tips to prevent eve-teasing and public molestation
The psychology of a rapist
How a poor attitude towards women can be changed
Teens in India are forced to keep their relationships a secret