The Government Railway Police (GRP), Punjab, arrested Home Guard Sukhwinder Singh Thursday, two days after a British tourist accused him of sexually harassing her on board Shaheed Express while she was travelling from Amritsar to New Delhi.
The Indian Express had reported the incident in its May 21 edition.
Additional Director General of GRP, Rohit Chaudhary, confirmed that Singh had been nabbed. He said Singh was presently posted at Central Jail in Amritsar and was undergoing a refresher course. SHO of GRP Police Station, Amritsar, Dharmender Kalyan, said the accused has been booked under Sections 354 (a) and (b) which deal with sexual harassment of women. He added that the accused had told police that he was being friendly with the tourist, who he thought was being over-friendly with him.
The accused also said he was travelling to Beas to visit the Dera of Radha Soami Satsang.
The accused was identified by photos clicked by the tourist in the train’s coach where he allegedly tried to molest her.
The woman in her early twenties is visiting India on a tourist visa and had gone to Amritsar from Delhi on Saturday.
She was on her way back to the capital on Tuesday. She has said she approached the British High Commission in Delhi after repeated attempts to lodge a complaint with Punjab Police failed.
In her complaint to the High Commission, the victim has said the incident was upsetting as she had contacted Singh, who was in his uniform, for help after another man started stalking her at Amritsar station.
“The policeman moved to sit on the same seat as me. There was only one other person in the carriage so I felt a bit uncomfortable. He said something in Punjabi to the only other passenger that I could see on the carriage, a man. I saw him give the man some money, I think it was 50 rupees. The man lay down and instantly appeared to go to sleep.
It looked like he was pretending,” the complaint says.
It adds: “Then the police officer came and sat right next to me and started speaking to me in Punjabi, which I don’t understand. He moved closer to me and started touching my thigh. He pointed at the other guy, who was sleeping, and began making obscene gestures.”
The tourist has said that despite her protests, Singh tried to touch her and continued making obscene gestures. “He made gestures as if indicating that I should indulge in sexual activities with him…He had his legs up on the other side of the sleeper, essentially trapping me,” the complaint says.
She has said in her complaint that she somehow managed to reach the upper berth from where she took photographs of Singh and shouted “BBC, BBC”. This made the accused wary and he got down at the next station, Beas. The tourist has said that with a friend’s help, she contacted Punjab Police officers in a bid to file a complaint. “Over ten phone calls were made to a number of people, including the office of the Director General of Police, but none were willing to take responsibility,” she said.
Amritsar Commissioner of Police J S Aulakh, however, said his office received no complaint.
The British Deputy High Commission in Chandigarh said they were offering consular assistance to the victim and monitoring the case.