Transpeople Assaulted: Kolkata Police Victim-Shames, Lets Perpetrators Go Scot-free
On 23rd October, around 1:30am, five transpeople (Anurag Maitrayee, Krishti Sarkar and 3 others) were travelling from Shyambazar to Jatin Das Park via metro to do pandal hopping at Maddox Square on the eve of Durga puja when they were severely harassed. Four guys sitting on the opposite seat to them began making unwanted sexual gestures and advances including lewd facial expressions towards them. Initially they tried to combat the situation by gently rebuking them but the perpetrators were unperturbed. The situation worsened as the harassment increased.
One of the victims, being at the receiving end, got intimidated and terrified by the harassment. She was trying to uncomfortably accommodate herself in the situation and wait till their destination comes. Since the harassment increased to an intolerable level, Anurag protested and verbally warned the perpetrators to stop their unruly activities. Eventually their destination, Jatin Das Park metro station arrived and they got out of the metro station believing their ordeal to be over.
However, as they were advancing towards Maddox Square, they were stalked by the said hooligans. The victims were stopped by the goons at Hazra road in front of Khalsa hotel. The perpetrators gheraod them and pounced on Anurag. They slapped, kicked her stomach and beat her up brutally in full public view. They threw her to the ground and continued beating and kicking her. Anurag managed to reach the nearby mobile police van and informed them of the assault. They then helped the police to catch the goons and earnestly requested the police to arrest the goons and initiate proper penal proceedings against them.
The police mildly scolded the goons and informed the victims that the area came within the territorial jurisdiction of Bhawanipore police station and the complaint needed to be lodged there. On reaching Bhawanipore police station the victims found out that the mobile van policemen have released the perpetrators and did not arrest them despite the heinous offence committed by them. The victims repeatedly requested the police personnel at Bhawanipore police station to arrest the goons, as the goons were seen to be passing by the police station celebrating their release. The police refused to heed their pleas. The Bhawanipore police then refused to accept the complaint of the victims stating they lacked jurisdiction.
The victims were send to Tollygunj police station for the complaint to be lodged.The officer in charge of Tollygunj police station, Mr. K.K Sharma, began shaming the victims, accusing them of being beggars and sex workers who just wanted to create trouble, and suggested they could not possibly have been assaulted due to lack of visible scars. He refused to lodge the complaint, presuming the victims were guilty.
Anurag Maitrayee, who was chiefly assaulted, said, “They accuse us of being beggars, when the police are the ones guilty of extorting money from hapless individuals at night, despite having a stable salary. They do not bother to give us the respect to even consider the crime committed against us. In fact, they are completely unaware that post a Supreme Court ruling, every police station is duty bound to accept an FIR irrespective of their jurisdiction. The FIR is then to be transferred to the correct authority later. Therefore, they had no grounds to make us run from one thana to the other when injured. How can they expect me to trudge 2km to the thana to lodge a complaint after being brutally assaulted when the mobile van caught the perpetrators and let them go scot free? This is disgraceful.”
After protests, the SI of Tollygunj Police Station finally agreed to lodge an the FIR. However, the perpetratos have yet to be arrested after being let off due to police negligence and no penal action has been initiated against them for committing the offence.
A protest is being organised on Tuesday in front of the Bhowanipore Police Station to condemn this incident of police negligence and demand justice.