Read and pass on…
After having dinner with a few friends, Rashmi was standing under the
Moolchand flyover in New Delhi with M (female), for an auto. It was
10.50 pm on a Sunday.
A Pulsar with two young boys (well dressed with spiked hair, rich,
probably 19-20 years old) came speeding next to them. The pillion
rider had his hand stretched out, Rashmi thought it was to indicate a
left turn onto the Defense Colony road. He slapped her right across
her face with that hand and the bike sped off. She fell on the kerb,
her nose bleeding profusely. A group of people gathered around them
and got them into an auto which took them to Moolchand Hospital across
the street. Somebody handed over a tattered wallet, saying it belonged
to the bikers.
As soon as she reached the hospital, she called me and I reached there
with a couple of other friends by 11 pm. The doctors would not start
medication until the police arrived. They took an X-Ray which showed a
broken nose (chip fracture). The bleeding would not stop.
After 45 minutes, the Lajpat Nagar police began arriving in waves,
first the constable, then the higher ups. They made M and R explain
again and again the exact location where the incident took place. They
did not want to proceed with the investigation if it fell under the
Defense Colony thana’s jurisdiction (but they would not tell us this).
This went on for more than an hour. While staring aghast at another
deep red clot of blood flowing from her nose, R was simultaneously
giving explanations to the police. Her nose will be in need of
surgery. Later she told me, “I wish he had just groped me instead.
Would have been much easier to deal with”
M, C and A took the police to the spot. A asked them if he should take
his bike, the police chose to go on foot. As they were standing at the
spot, the same bike with the same guys was waiting less than 5 feet
away. By the time M realised and alerted the rest, it crossed them and
sped away yet again. The police man, who did not have a vehicle, tried
to stop them by waving his helmet in the air. They, of course, did not
stop. It was suggested to the police that if the next thana is alerted
or a blockade set up on the road which has no turns for the next 2
kilometers, they might be caught. The police responded with a blank
Once back at the hospital, another couple of hours went by with the
police persuading R to not file an FIR. “Aapke paas uska mobile number
bhi nahi hai. Bike ka number bhi nahi hai. Koi trace nahi hai.”
It had to be stressed again and again that she is a lawyer with the
Supreme court and the rest of the people there (us) are journalists
with important papers. A few calls had to be made to seem important.
Only then, at around 3 am, they finished filing the FIR.
The next day, several police men called R on the phone, suggesting
that she knew the fellow who had slapped her and asking her why he did
so. She had to explain the same thing, again and again to all of them.
Every time a different police man would call.
The same day, a man tried to slap another girl in the metro in broad
day light. Strangers them too. She tried calling the Hauz Khas police
station which was a few meters away. The other men in the metro
compartment called her ‘crazy’ when the police arrived. They were
annoyed the train had been delayed by 15 minutes. They ‘had to get to
Was there anything that provoked these two men to slap the girls? No.
Were they dressed inappropriately? No. Should the girls stop going out
for dinners and travelling in the metro trains? NO.
The men are to be blamed, of course, but as women, for ourselves, what
can we do:
Because of such instances, more and more women stay indoors or avoid
travelling alone. Good precaution, but it is counter productive. They
are putting the women who choose to move around freely in some danger.
There are so few of them on the streets.
We need more girls out there on the roads. During the day and at
night. Walking freely, countering lunatics such as these. Don’t stay
indoors, don’t leave the city, don’t strap yourself in layers of
clothing. Be out there, defying these assholes. Be there as a group,
be there alone. Be alert. There is no other way we can live otherwise
in this hyper-hormonal state-of-affairs dominated by an apathetic and
aggressive male crowd. We are not man-haters but we have to reclaim
the city for ourselves and our sisters. It is something we have got to
face, so let’s face it head on.
There is a protest being organised at Hauz Khas metro station against
such atrocities. If you are interested in enlisting, get in touch and
I shall pass on the information as and when it is available.
1091, I am told, is the women’s protection cell number if anything of
this sort happens to you or your female friends. But am not sure if it