In a shameful incident that has once again threatened to put Mumbai reputation on the line as a city safe for women – two women were reportedly molested by a mob of as many as 70 people, on a busy street in the posh suburb of Juhu on New Year’s day.
According to reports a mob of 70-80 men groped and molested two young women for nearly 15 minutes on a busy street in Mumbai’s Juhu area early on Tuesday (January 1).
The incident occured soon after the women emerged from the JW Marriott Hotel with two male friends around 1.45 am, and began walking towards Juhu beach close by. A mob of about 40 men went after them and began teasing the women.
They then reportedly cornered the women near a vehicle and a tree, and pounced on them tearing at their clothes and groping them. As the women fell on the ground, dozens of men virtually pounced on them. At this point the journalist alerted the police.
The women were rescued only after a photographer with the Hindustan Times alerted a passing police van. Senior Inspector Amarjeet Singh reportedly rushed in swinging his cane and chased away the mob. He took the victims to the Juhu police station.
However, no case was registered according to Juhu police station-in-charge Shivaji Tadlapurkar, and no arrests made either.
An identical incident at the Gateway of India had shamed India’s ‘safest city’ exactly a year ago.
‘Media is over hyping it’
Forced by the media reports to take action, the Mumbai Police Commissioner — D N Jadav — has said that action will be taken. Shockingly, instead of empathising with the girls, the Mumbai police commissioner’s apathy towards the entire incident was quiet evident when he almost trivialised the entire episode.
Talking to the media, he said, “Don’t blow it out of propertion and don’t try to make mountain out of a molehill. The city was quiet peaceful.”
Police firefight after media splash
Mumbai Police Commissioner, D N Jhadav said the police would take suo moto action.
“There were two boys and girls from Gulf countries I believe. There was some altercation leading to this incident. Nobody has come forth to lodge any complaint with us, but we are lodging a complaint on our own,” said Jhadav to TIMES NOW today (January 2).
Jadhav appealed to the media “not to blow the incident out of proportion”, saying a probe has been initiated in the incident.
“I cannot keep the police behind every single person at all times. Things can happen anywhere, anytime. We are investigating the matter seriously,” Jadhav told reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of Road Safety Week today.
However the issue that the Mumbai CP conveniently did not address is why, when a senior traffic offical Amarjeet Singh found the couples and took them to the police station, the station-in-charge did not lodge a complaint. The police official instead reportedly told the victims to go to Santacruz police station as the crime scene fell in that area. Rules dictate that an FIR must be lodged wherever the crime is reported and the case transfered later by police to the relevant station.
Did police duck responsibility?
Reacting to the news report out today, Additional Commissioner of Police Archana Tyagi had said she did not have any details about the incident but would hold an “enquiry”.
“Adequate security was provided on New Year’s. The newspaper reported that a senior police official helped the women, but after that what happened I do not know, I am enquiring into the incident. Whatever has happened is shocking. I will follow up the matter and we will consider all legal avenues including whether we can take suo moto action also,” said Tyagi to TIMES NOW, the morning after the incident.
Incidentally, even on Tuesday (January 1) night when Tyagi was quizzed by HT on the occurrence, she maintained she did not know anything and that no information had reached her from the police station concerned. “The Juhu police have denied this incident,” she reportedly said.
“Mumbai culture has changed”
Reactions to the incident have been pouring in from all quarters. Commenting on the shocking incident, prominent Mumbai citizens Madhu Kishwar and Alyque Padamsee lamented that the city was getting a high tolerance for crimes.
“The main reason for increasing lawless – is that the police has a huge tolerance for crime – unless there is a gang rape nobody takes note. They do not consider such things worth taking up, And whenever police tend to overlook such cases, criminals develop a mindset that they can get away with. Also, our police are paid such a pittance today that their real paymasters are criminals themselves – their real income comes from patronisiing crimes and protecting criminals. We the citizens should make a more concerted effort to give ourselves a first-rate police force which is well paid and does not need ‘hafta collection’ for its survival. It is time for far-reaching police reforms,” said Kishwar, who is the Editor of women’s journal ‘Manushi’.
Ad guru and eminent Mumbaikar Padamsee said Mumbai’s culture had changed into a more “macho, north Indian” one with the influx of people into the metropolis from North India.
“In the north, the culture is different – there it is men first, men second and women last. Though the depiction of women in Bollywood cinema has always been lewd and vulgar – we never had this kind of incident on the streets of Mumbai before. Women could walk safely on the streets at 2 am at night. But with the influx of a different culture, there is complete change in respect for the law and for women here. It is a much more macho, north Indian culture. I have it from reliable sources – friends and relatives – that daughters have been molested in broad daylight in Delhi. Delhi is the capital of corruption and crime. The same people come here and say what a difference,” said Padamsee adding “Police have photographs of men – they should try and trace the culprits, or send out copies to all police station and try to spot them.
Even if the girls’ families are scared, and don’t do anything police should act on their own, police and citizen’s cell should get on this immediately, said Padamsee.
Noted lyricist Javed Akhtar said this was not the time to confront the police.
“We do have problems with police, it is a very small force for a large population. But right now, we should urge them to catch the criminals with the help of the pictures taken of the incident, and take them to court publicly. Their identities, place of work and origin should be made public, and these men should be ostracised by society and thrown out of their jobs. The police have a right to throw somebody out of city premises for two years, and they should exercise this right,” said Akhtar.
He added that despite the incident he still believed Mumbai was a civilised and sophisticated city which respected women. “We are proud of our city – and this sort of thing is not tolerable for anyone who loves and respects this city,” he said.
That brings us to the question we are asking you in ‘SPEAK NOW’:
No action is taken by police even after eve-teasers molest women. Are the police in India sensitive to complaints by women?
You can SMS your views to 58888 or write in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or simply post your reactions as comments at the bottom on this article.
If you have an information on the eve-teasers shown on this page, please inform Mumbai police at:
Juhu Police Station: (022)-26184432, 26183856, 26184308