Instead of promptly registering an FIR, officers at the Bandra police station spent four hours trying to convince a 27-year-old woman, who had been molested just hours before, not to file a cognisable offence as it would ‘make her life difficult’, the woman has alleged.
The police finally relented after she refused to budge, the woman said. The alleged incident came to light after the woman described her ordeal through a post on a social networking website.
On September 12, around 7.15pm, the woman was walking on Hill Road in Bandra when a 19-year-old hawker allegedly tried to touch her in an inappropriate manner, and then tried to flee, the police said. The woman tried to run after him and then informed a mobile patrol van stationed nearby. Cops from the patrol vehicle chased the hawker, caught him and took him to the police station, the Bandra police said.
The woman, however, claimed that once she went to the police station, what should have been a simple procedure turned into a four-hour ordeal during which police officers tried to convince her that registering an FIR would have dire consequences and would ‘make her life hell.’ However, the woman said she stood her ground and finally, a woman police sub-inspector took her statement and got an FIR registered.
The police, however, have denied the allegations. Milind Bharambe, additional commissioner of police (west region) said the woman had to wait for half-an-hour as there was no woman officer [see box: know your rights]
Once the woman sub-inspector, who is part of the squad to check crimes against women, arrived, she recorded the statement and the FIR was lodged, Bharambe said.
Ramchandra Dhavale, senior inspector, Bandra police, said, “We have strict orders to register an FIR if we receive any such complaint [for crimes against women]. The officers may have been tending to other complainants, which could have resulted in a delay in registering this FIR.”
Rakesh Maria, Mumbai police commissioner, said, “A helpdesk has been created at each police station, where senior citizens and women can directly register an offence. As far as this particular incident is concerned, I am not in a position to comment at the moment. I will have to inquire into the entire incident.”
The accused, meanwhile, was arrested under section 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of Indian Penal Code.