For all those women in the city who did not think twice about hopping into a cab, this incident is an unpleasant eye-opener. A 20-year-old student was allegedly sexually harassed by a taxi driver at 9.15am on Thursday, just outside her college in south Mumbai.
What makes it worse is the police attitude — the Gamdevi police refused to register the allegations of sexual harassment, choosing to register a non-cognisable complaint for breaching peace. The driver, Israr Ahmed Ali Khan, 35, was let off after he paid a fine of Rs 1,200.
For months now, HT has been campaigning for the safety of women in Mumbai, consistently reporting on attacks on women and the need to change the police attitude towards such crimes.
This incident took place after the girl [her name has been withheld to protect her identity] got into an argument with the cabbie. “I took the taxi from Grant Road station to college. The driver said his meter was not working so I paid him the usual fare. I was about to leave when he started making lewd comments,” said the Malad resident.
The college guard ran up to the taxi and dragged Khan out when the girl screamed for help. “When teachers and students started hitting him, he started apologising,” the victim said.
One of those gathered called the police control room. A police team arrived at the campus and advised the victim to file a complaint at Gamdevi police station. “The police officer said we should not insist on an FIR as it will lead to legal hassles and filed a non-cognisable case citing incorrect details,” she said.
Nitin Mahadik, sub-inspector, Gamdevi police station, whom the victim approached, said: “They got into a tiff over the fare and Khan spoke rudely, so we booked him for intent to provoke breach of peace and penalised him for indecent behaviour in public.”