An incident reminding the shameful Bengaluru ‘mass molestation’, three girls were abused and thrashed for resisting eve-teasing in Bhubaneswar.
Two youths allegedly harassed, molested and beat up three girl students and their male companion near Raghunathpur within Nandankanan police limits on Friday.
The alleged incident took place when the girls were going to visit the Bhubaneswar State Botanical Garden, a popular tourist destination adjoining the Nandankanan Zoological Park.
While one of the victims is a law student, two others are students of Plus Three at a state government-run institute in the city. The victims alleged that the two youths, who were in an inebriated state, passed lewd remarks at them near Magentic Square.
“We were going to the botanical garden on two two-wheelers when the youths passed lewd remarks at the students. When I confronted them, they threatened me with dire consequences,” alleged the trio’s male companion, who works in merchant navy.
The victims alleged that as soon as they reached Raghunathpur, the youths, who were waiting near a kiosk selling tea, along with eight of their friends, forced them to stop and started hurling abuses at them.
“They started assaulting me and when one of my friends tried to stand up to them, they assaulted her as well,” alleged the 22-year-old youth.
The two other girls, who filmed the entire incident on a mobile phone, were also harassed by the accused. “One of them grabbed my neck and slapped me repeatedly. They also snatched my mobile phone and damaged it,” alleged one of the girls.
Ironically, passersby, who were mute witness to the scuffle, did not come to support of the young students. However, a few locals informed the police following which a PCR van arrived at the spot and rescued the students. Meanwhile, the miscreants managed to flee towards Nandan Kanan.
The police have registered a case under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage modesty of a woman) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the IPC and detained three persons.
“Others involved in the incident have been identified and will be arrested soon,” DCP Satyabrata Bhoi said. The incident once again exposed lack of patrolling on busy Patia road which happens to be the hub of educational institutions. There has been similar incidents in the past, but most of those have gone unreported or settled with a ‘compromise’.