Even as the Mumbai Police declared safety of women as one of their top priorities for the upcoming New Year bandobast, a 17-year-old girl was allegedly molested on a moving bus by a man on Friday evening. The police’s much touted anti eve-teasing squads, which were slowly becoming dormant, would once again be pressed into action during the upcoming celebrations, police officers said.
According to police sources, the incident took place when the victim was on her way home after attending college. The police said the victim was sitting at a window seat and felt a hand touch her inappropriately. “Turning around, the girl saw a man touch her. She asked him to leave her alone, but the man began to shout at her and threatened her. Outraged, the girl raised an alarm and her co-passengers nabbed the man. We received a call from the passengers of the bus. We reached the spot and arrested the accused, identified as Mansoor Maniyyar (22), who had also been assaulted by the passengers on the bus,” said police sub-inspector K Shirsat of Malwani police station. Shirsat added that the girl’s parents had also reached the police station. They registered a complaint.
“Since the place of incident is under the jurisdiction of the Malad police station, we just registered a case at the Malwani police station and then transferred it there,” said Shirsat.
Earlier this year, the Mumbai Police had formed an anti eve-teasing squad at every police station with instructions to specifically crack down on eve teasers. The squads were pressed into service during Ganeshotsav, as eve-teasers and molestors are known to strike during festivals, taking advantage of the crowd. While the squads were active in August and September, with the police regularly releasing statistics of the number of offenders arrested by the squads declining every week, they slowly dropped out of the limelight. One of the squads even ran into trouble after they were accused of moral policing, when they picked up a couple outside Oberoi Mall in Goregaon earlier this year. The police later said the squad had been ‘over zealous’ in its work.
“Since August, the special squads have arrested 58 eve-teasers under Section 110 of the Bombay Police Act. The officers have also nabbed 125 men wandering outside colleges and school, and left them with a warning,” said Balsingh Rajput, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 11).
Rajput, however, said they had decided to increase the number of squads and station them outside venues of new year events. “We have identified many spots like beaches, resorts and hotels where couples and women are seen. Each police station will have a team stationed outside big venues to nab miscreants and eve teasers. Safety of women is a priority for us,” said Rajput.
Apart from the North region, the Mumbai police have also identified over 2,000 spots across the city where the special squads will be stationed.