A 22-year-old student in Kolkata has alleged that she was manhandled, abused and assaulted on Friday by a group of men.
Her crime? "The girl was wearing a half-pant and was smoking openly...can you imagine?," That was the defence of a man who led the assault on the student.
According to reports, the 22-year-old was on her way home with her college classmate on Friday night when they stopped for a smoke in south Kolkata's Netaji Nagar. The men allegedly shouted abuses at her and attacked her friend.
Before attacking the girl, the men had reportedly gathered at a campaign meeting of the ruling Trinamool Congress.
"They told us you cannot wear these clothes and roam around and smoke here. They said you are ruining our culture. They told us that 'you can do this in Mumbai or Delhi but not in Kolkata'..." the girl told NDTV.
The harassers allegedly included 37-year-old Shouvik Ganguly and his 70-year-old father Kamal Ganguly. Both are known Trinamul Congress activists in the area.
When The Telegraph called Shouvik and asked him if he harassed the girl, this was his response: "The girl was wearing a half-pant and was smoking openly. How could she do that? My father got angry and asked her to throw away the cigarette but she began arguing with him.
But it wasn't easy for the girls to file a complaint either.
First, when she went to file the complaint at the nearest police station, she was taken to the spot in Pallisree where she was allegedly attacked while the cops stood there for an hour trying to figure out whether the area was under the jurisdiction of Jadavpur or Netaji Nagar police station.
Then the complainant reached Netaji Nagar police station around 12.15am on Saturday, only to find that lodging an FIR isn't the easiest task to do.
Each time she finished writing, the police would find a “mistake”, reports The Telegraph. Sometimes her language was apparently not clear, and sometimes apparently she couldn't describe the exact act of the accused.
“Not once did they try and help me write down the complaint. They finally accepted my third draft,” the woman told Metro on Sunday.
She reached home at 2:30 am, but within an hour a police team arrived at her doorstep to verify her personal information. Half an hour later, an officer reportedly called to say that the colour of the ink she had used to add the date to the complaint didn’t match the rest of the document.
One would think the accused would have been booked by now, since it has been more than two days after the woman lodged her complaint. However, police say they were “yet to identify the suspects.”
The family of the two main accused have confirmed that there had been no phone call or visitor from Netaji Nagar police station to their home in the 40 hours since the incident was reported.
"You are the first one to tell me that the girl has lodged a police complaint," one of the harassers told The Telegraph.
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