Female toll booth operator assaulted at Kherki Daula in Gurugram
A female toll collector was allegedly slapped, punched and manhandled by a man after he refused to pay the toll at the Kherki Daula toll plaza on Friday morning, the police said. Just a few hours earlier, another toll employee had been injured after a car had allegedly hit him while trying to speed its way past the boom barrier to avoid paying the tax.
The female toll collector was injured on the nose, face and arms due to the alleged assault, and was admitted to Civil Hospital, where her condition is reported to be stable. The police said the suspect claimed to be a local ‘dada’ (goon) and allegedly told the toll collector that he had, once, fired at the plaza when asked for tax.
The suspect, identified by his first name as Manjeet, 40, is a resident of Shikohpur village in Manesar, and runs a gym. He was arrested on Friday and sent to judicial custody. The police said interrogation had revealed that he had a criminal record with at least three cases registered against him.
Subhash Boken, spokesperson of the Gurugram police, said, “In 2008, he was booked under the Essential Commodities Act and in 2011, he was booked for murder. Last year, he was arrested for possession of a weapon and later released on bail.”
The police said that on Friday, he was travelling to his village in his friend’s Scorpio SUV, which has now been confiscated.
According to the police, the incident took place at 8.50 am when the Scorpio, which had a Haryana registration number, stopped in lane number 27 at the toll plaza.
Karambir Singh, assistant sub inspector (ASI), Kherki Daula police station, said, “The car driver got into an argument with the female toll collector who was seated inside the booth as well as a male employee on the issue of paying toll. Both insisted that he pay the tax. He boasted about being a local goon and threatened them. He punched the female toll collector before fleeing in the car.”
Santosh Kumari, 20, the toll collector, said the car driver claimed that he was from Shikohpur village and hence was exempted from paying toll.
“I asked him to produce his vehicle’s registration certificate and insurance documents. He got out of the car and pushed the boom barrier out of the way. He then started hurling abuses at me and said everyone allowed him to pass without paying. Suddenly, he slapped me, held both my arms and punched me in the face. He said he was the local ‘dada’ (goon) and claimed to have fired a gun in an earlier incident,” Kumari said.
Kumari added that she had been working as a toll collector for the past year, but this was the first time someone had hit her.
The incident was captured on CCTV cameras. In the footage, the man, dressed in a blue t shirt, gets out of his car to push the boom barrier to make way for his car. After he returns, he appears to slap the female toll collector, who is seated in the booth, through the window and then grabs her arms. The man then punches her on the nose as another toll official tries to restrain him. The woman is seen grimacing in pain as her nose starts bleeding.
Kirpal Singh, PRO, Skylark, the highway operator, said they filed a police complaint and handed over the CCTV camera footage to the police.
The Haryana State Commission for Women on Friday issued a statement condemning the incident and called it a ‘grave lapse’ and a security issue for women working in public spaces.
A case was registered against the suspect under sections 323, 506 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code at Kherki Daula police station on Friday, the police said.
In the other incident on Friday, around 1.30am, a lane attendant sustained injury on his face after a car allegedly hit him when he was trying to halt it. “The attendant tried to stop him and the car grazed him from the side. He received 10 stitches above the eye. He was taken to a hospital in Sector 9,” said a toll employee.
The police said they were conducting the investigation.