Woman alleges molestation by pandal volunteerhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/woman-alleges-molestation-by-pandal-volunteer/

Woman alleges molestation by pandal volunteer

The woman, an activist, has filed an FIR against the accused whom she identified as Suddhojit Roy, a volunteer managing the crowd at the pandal.

A 34-year-old woman has alleged that she was molested Friday evening at Deshapriya Park Puja pandal for reportedly raising her voice against the inconvenience caused to regular commuters during the pandal’s inauguration.

The woman, an activist, has filed an FIR against the accused whom she identified as Suddhojit Roy, a volunteer managing the crowd at the pandal.

According to the complaint, the woman was on her way to a coffee shop around 7 pm when she was confronted with the “mismanagement” in the area surrounding the puja pandal. Although the pandal is located inside the park, the pavements surrounding it had been blocked.

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“We face this sort of inconvenience during the pujas but this was two days before the puja began. People were being pushed around. I went to the nearest volunteer and asked him to do something about it. The person, who was later identified as Suddhojit Roy, started shouting at me. He wanted to know what was I doing there if not visiting the pandal. When I asked him who he was he thrusted his volunteer card on my face. The card came loose while I was inspecting it. At this, he grabbed my breasts and pushed me saying that I tore the card,” the woman said.

When she raised an alarm, the accused grabbed the card from her and ran away
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“I was taken to the club office by the organisers and told to calm down. They brought the guy in front of me and asked me to forgive him saying ‘these things happen during the Durga Puja’,” she said.

However, the woman went to the Salt Lake Police Station and lodged an FIR under Section 354 A (physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures).

“We received a complaint on Friday evening and an FIR has been registered,” confirmed constable S C Ray.

The woman said that an official complaint had to be registered to set an example. “The way those present there discouraged me to lodge a formal complaint…are we saying that one can get away doing anything this puja? Who ensures safety in public spaces when thousands and thousands are on the road?” she asked.

Incidentally, spokesperson of the Deshapriya Park Organising Committee, Avishek De Biswas claimed ignorance.

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“I have no idea that something like this has happened. This is the first time I am hearing about it,” he said.