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Outrage a ‘little thing’ for top cop

Police Commissioner DN Jadhav says "such little things happen in every society". HT reports.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2008 15:38 IST

It took 38 hours, and intervention from Hindustan Times, for the police to finally register a case of sexual molestation, reported in the January 1 edition of this paper.

An FIR was registered at 4.30 pm at Juhu police station on Tuesday after two HT photographers — who witnessed and photographed two girls being molested by a mob outside JW Marriott — spent four hours with the police.

<b1>On Wednesday, the HT’s Mumbai office was flooded with calls and mails as a shocked city reacted to the images published in our editions across the country.

Police Commissioner DN Jadhav’s reaction to the outcry was, however, shocking: he told television reporters that "such little things happen in every society" and that "the media was creating a mountain out of a molehill".

Later, a contrite and defensive Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil stepped in to do some damage control. "I don’t approve of the CP’s (Jadhav’s) comments," he told HT. "I have already expressed my displeasure… We will take the statements of your photographers. (By this time, HT had already approached the police to file a complaint.) I assure you that we will locate the culprits."

From the start, the police had been slow to react, miring the case in a swamp of jurisdictional issues and indifference. "We did not take down the name and address of the two women because the case did not fall in our jurisdiction," said Shivaji Tadlapurkar, in-charge of Juhu thana.

That’s not all. An HT reporter brought the incident to the notice of Additional Commissioner of Police (western region) Archana Tyagi at 10 pm on Tuesday night. She had then told HT: "I have no idea about the incident. I have not been informed by officers from my jurisdiction."

The jurisdictional issue was contested till 12 pm on Wednesday when the photographers went to Santacruz police station to file the complaint. Finally, Deputy Commissioner of Police KM Mallikarjuna Prasanna intervened and sorted out the issue.

Joint CP (law and order) KL Prasad said: "Inquiries have revealed that all four of them (the two girls and their male friends) are based in California. They are in their early 20s and had come from Gujarat."