Every time Gazala Shaikh, 19, boards BEST bus route number 201, she ensures that conductor Sandeep Satpute isn’t present.
“I just peep into the bus to check who the conductor is . I won’t take the bus if he is there,” said the Vile Parle resident. “Till now I have been lucky and haven’t seen him. Few people travel by bus early in the morning and I don’t want to take any chances. The incident has left me traumatised,” she told HT.
Shaikh was allegedly abused by Satpute on December 10, 2012, because she was wearing her earphones and couldn’t hear him when he asked her for a ticket.
Recounting the incident, Shaikh said: “I showed him my monthly bus pass, but he continued grumbling. When I questioned him, he said I should have paid attention to what he was saying and not listening to music. I said I had a pass and it was his job to check it.”
At this, the conductor lost his cool and started abusing her. “I am ashamed to even repeat the things he called me. He told the other commuters that ‘he knew what kind of a girl I was as soon as I got into the bus’. He even threatened to come to my place at night,” she alleged.
Shaikh then complained to the driver of the bus, which got Satpute more infuriated. He then allegedly tried to raise his hand to hit her. “He was already standing too close to me. I warned him that if he touched me, I would complain to the police. He then backed off,” said the 19-year-old.
“When I got down, he started to make obscene gestures. I broke down and called up my mother,” she said.
Shaikh’s mother told her to complain at the Goregaon depot and the police.
After filing a complaint at the depot, Shaikh went to the Goregaon police station, from where she was directed to Amboli police and ultimately the Oshiwara police finally took a non-cognisable (NC) complaint. “But I have not received any call from the officials since December 11. No one has been willing to help me,” Shaikh said.
When HT contacted Dilip Rupwate, senior inspector, Oshiwara police station, he said a woman inspector would investigate the matter. “We will take the girl’s statement and also call the conductor and give him a warning,” he said.
This could be the first step before the police registered an FIR, as per procedure.