Two women from Europe, north­east groped on train

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY - Ni­tasha.Natu@ times­ ON TRAINS

Mumbai: Two women stu­dents of a pres­ti­gious Mumbai re­search in­sti­tu­tion, one a Euro­pean and the other from a north­east­ern state, were re­cently groped in the gen­eral com­part­ment of a lo­cal train. They even caught a per­vert with his trousers down, but none of their male co-pas­sen­gers came to their aid. One of the stu­dents later told TOI that their dis­tinc­tive ap­pear­ance makes them vul­ner­a­ble to such at­tacks.

Both are trau­ma­tized. One took to so­cial me­dia on Satur­day and nar­rated the train or­deal, tag­ging the rail­way min­istry. Last Tues­day, the two women—the Euro­pean is 28 and the north­east­ern stu­dent is 22—and a class­mate, who is from Delhi, were re­turn­ing from a field as­sign­ment. They set out from Ra­bale sta­tion on a trans-har­bour lo­cal for Vashi be­tween 5pm and 6pm. At Vashi, they changed trains and got onto a CSMT lo­cal for Go­vandi. “It's our first year in Mumbai and we are not well-versed in train travel. My Euro­pean class­mate and I don't speak Hindi. When the train halted, we got onto the com­part­ment in front of us. We re­alised later that it was a gen­eral com­part­ment and not re­served for women,” said the north­east stu­dent.

The com­part­ment was crowded as it was peak hour in the evening. “Af­ter a while, I felt some­thing rub­bing against my back. In­stinc­tively, I moved for­ward but within min­utes, it was rub­bing against my back again. I looked at the com­muter stand­ing next to me and he had an ex­pres­sion of hor­ror on his face. I im­me­di­ately turned around and saw a man with his trousers down. I was shocked be­yond words and yelled at him in English,” said the north­east stu­dent. “None of the male pas­sen­gers said a thing. There was an un­known woman in the coach who spoke to the per­vert in Hindi. He said he would get off the train at Go­vandi, but we doubt he did that. I clicked a photo of him on my phone.”

Af­ter the stu­dents got off the train, the Euro­pean na­tional said she too had been groped shortly af­ter she en­tered the com­part­ment. “We be­lieve that since the two of us look dif­fer­ent from lo­cal women, it makes us more vul­ner­a­ble. We were deeply dis­turbed af­ter the in­ci­dent and com­plained to our col­lege. On the sug­ges­tion of col­lege au­thor­i­ties, we will ap­proach the GRP to press charges. I will hand over the pho­to­graph of the per­vert to the cops," she said.

Clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist Naren­dra Kinger said for­eign na­tion­als are more vul­ner­a­ble to sex­ual as­sault as it’s per­ceived that they are less likely to ap­proach the au­thor­i­ties. “This em­bold­ens a would-be cul­prit who be­lieves he can get away eas­ily,” he said.

So­cial psy­chi­a­trist Har­ish Shetty said women who are younger are more vul­ner­a­ble to at­tacks like these. “There are a lot of hood­lums on trains who are look­ing for such op­por­tu­ni­ties. Safety of women on trains is a se­ri­ous con­cern,” he said.

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