British student accuses Punjab policeman of sexual harassment

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 22, 2015 09:57 IST

A 23-year-old British national has alleged she was sexually harassed by an officer of the Punjab police while travelling on board a train from Amritsar to Delhi, the Indian Express reported on Thursday.

The Express said she has lodged a complaint with the British High Commission in New Delhi after her attempts to contact police officers in Amritsar were met with "no response".

The woman is a student and was returning to Delhi from Amritsar on the Shaheed Express on Tuesday afternoon, where she had been backpacking, the daily added.

She also told Express she had approached a police officer who later harassed her during the journey, on the train after being followed by a man on the station.

"When I entered the train, he stood outside and leered at me. Finally, I found a police officer in the compartment and when I approached him, the man went away," she told Express.

"There was another man in the compartment and I saw the police officer handing him some money, after which the other man promptly went off to sleep. Then the police officer came and sat right next to me and started speaking to me in Punjabi, which I do not 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," it quoted her as saying.

She said despite her protests, the police officer did not stop attempting to touch her and continued making obscene gestures. After a while, she managed to get away from the police officer and sat on an upper berth, where she had kept her luggage.

"I took out my camera and started taking his photographs, saying out aloud ‘BBC’ to try and scare him away. I also wrote down his name. But he was completely shameless, he kept leering at me and continued with the obscene gestures," she said.

According to her, the officer got off at the Beas railway station and when she reached Delhi she filed a complaint with the high commission.

"I have spent all of Wednesday trying to get in touch with the Punjab police. But the minute they realise this is a case of sexual harassment against a Punjab police officer, they suddenly do not want to help and they pretend that they cannot speak English. No one wants to take responsibility for what happened," she said.

In a similar incident, another British woman, who was travelling in India for three months and has since returned to the UK, wrote a blog about a man publicly masturbating while staring at her at a Mumbai bus stop.

Lucy Hemmings, 27, wrote about the experience on her Lucy's Miles Away travel blog and many Indian men and women sent her countless messages after reading her post about the incident to say sorry.

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