Union minister Smriti Irani’s encounter with a peeping cam in the trial room of a leading apparel store in Goa on Friday has left women extremely distraught about their safety while shopping in malls and showrooms.
“How can a reputed store do this? We women are safe nowhere! It’ll be impossible to shop without fear. Strict action must be taken,” says Sandhya Nagar, student, 23.
“Earlier it was only local garment shops that I was scared of. Now, I doubt branded stores as well,” says Disha Gupta, credit officer, 21.
“I’m shocked. If this can happen to a minister, where do common girls stand? I doubt if such an incident would’ve created a stir if it involved me or my friends. I’ll only shop online now to avoid such mishaps,” says Naina Kaur, dance teacher, 25.
Social media, too, is flooded with reactions.
“It was not expected from a store of #FabIndia’s repute. However, pats for you @smritiirani. Next time I’d be as vigilant as you,” wrote @bhardwaj_ankita.
“Lord! Like Smriti Irani, I’ve been in that Goa FabIndia changing around too! That’s just ridiculous,” wrote another user, @iratrivedi.
While the Fabindia showroom in Candolim village has been sealed and four staff members arrested, fashion brands in the city are putting strong checks in place to ensure no such incidents occur.
“It’s sad that a critical equipment like CCTV was misused for malpractice. Stores must keep a check on employees who can indulge in such crimes. I’m calling a meeting to come up with a method of daily inspection to prevent such incidents,” says Sanjay Sahni, owner, Ritu Wears.
Jessica Khanijo of Trendy Divva says that CCTVs should never be installed anywhere close to the trial rooms.
“We do not install cameras even outside trial rooms, as women often check the fit of their dresses in a bigger mirror outside. Why should anyone else see that? A woman’s dignity can’t be compromised at any cost,” she adds.
"Such an incident is not acceptable but a store like this won’t do something like this. I think it’s more of an incident where no one noticed the direction of the CCTV," said noted fashion designer Ritu Kumar.
"Just the thought of someone violating your privacy is horrifying. But I can’t believe that the store can be at fault. The owners are known for their ethical practices," fashion designer Rina Dhaka said.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police plans search operations across malls and showrooms in the city, as such incidents are not uncommon in the Capital.
Last month, a girl had spotted a phone in video-recording mode inside the Van Heusen trial room in Lajpat Nagar, and had filed a complaint.