When 22-year-old Mohammed Hussain allegedly molested a college student in a subway near Metro Cinema, Mumbai, the girl took a step that will inspire and motivate many others to follow. The incident took place on January 30, and it took the student about three weeks to gather the courage and tell her mother about it. This was followed by her mother insisting that they should go to the spot and file a police complaint.
Fortunately, they saw the accused roaming around the subway on Saturday and immediately informed the Azad Maidan police station, leading to the accused being arrested.
It is not easy for many women to talk about cases like these. While some choose to stay silent and never mention a similar incident even to their family members, others go ahead and teach their molesters a lesson. Different sections of the society, including NGOs, citizen activists, counsellors and others have been trying hard to explain the importance of reporting such cases, and they are proud of this mother-daughter duo. Not reporting gives the molesters the courage to go ahead and repeat the same thing because they are not scared of complaints. There is hope that this brave act will encourage other women to report cases of sexual harassment, and will also help them trust the police and legal system. The quick action of the police who ensured that the accused was arrested there and then is also laudable.
“It will prompt others to go out and complain. As a society, we do not encourage people to take help of the law. The police are also unable to act if people do not register such cases. We need such examples to be spoken of and shared so that others are encouraged to come out in the open and look at our legal machinery in a friendly manner,” Milind Mhaske, project director of NGO Praja told The Times of India when talking about the girl’s actions.
The accused has been identified as a resident of Vitthalwadi in Thane. According to the police, the girl is a final year Arts student and is a resident of Cuffe Parade.
“While she was in the subway, an unknown person there started making obscene comments. The girl, however, ignored him. But the man followed her and groped her. The girl pushed him and escaped from there,” an officer from Azad Maidan police station told DNA.
Other activists added that it is very important for parents to encourage their children to complain about harassment, and such cases should also be fast tracked so that the victim has faith in the legal system.