The Government Railway Police (GRP) on Saturday arrested a 43-year-old history-sheeter for allegedly sexually harassing a 25-year-old lawyer traveling alone in a first-class ladies compartment of a local train at Jogeshwari railway station in Mumbai, the police said. The complainant had claimed that GRP personnel behaved insensitively when she went to lodge a complaint, triggering outrage on social media. The GRP later expressed regret.
The accused, Biharilal Yadav, was nabbed from suburban Mahalaxmi in Central Mumbai, an official said. Yadav has a criminal record who was arrested in October 2021 also, he said.
The incident occurred on Wednesday morning when the lawyer was traveling from Cotton Green station to Jogeshwari station in a Harbor line train. Yadav boarded the ladies’ first class compartment in which the lawyer was traveling alone at Andheri station and sexually harassed her. He fled when the train stopped at Jogeshwari station, as per the FIR.
The victim narrated her ordeal on Twitter in multiple posts. The GRP formed four teams, the official said, adding that one of the teams checked habitual offenders.
During the investigation, Yadav’s photo matched the description provided by the complainant. A GRP team later visited Yadav’s house in Kalva in the neighboring Thane district. He was arrested from suburban Mahalaxmi in Mumbai.
The lawyer later tweeted that GRP personnel behaved insensitively when she went to lodge a complaint. Upon reaching the Andheri Railway Police station, I was visibly distressed and crying. As I spoke to the police in-charge and told them I was molested and I’d be comfortable speaking about it to a female cop, the first question he asked me was Molestation kya hota hai (what is molestation), the woman tweeted.
As she identified the perpetrator in the CCTV footage, a woman police personnel kept telling her that being a lawyer, she should have hit the man. She claimed that she was made to narrate the incident three-four times and her statement was finally recorded after three hours at the Andheri Railway Police station.
The GRP later expressed regret. Ma’am, we deeply regret the inconvenience caused to you. The investigation is underway and we appreciate your cooperation all day through. We have noted your account of our personnel’s behavior and will sensitize them accordingly, the GRP tweeted.
Yadav was booked under section 354-A (punishment for sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the official said, adding that prima facie he had consumed “bhang” (a narcotic made from cannabis) at the time of the incident . He is handed over to the Borivali GRP for further investigation.