The city of Kolkata that was once considered safe for women is quickly shedding that tag with numerous cases of molestation being reported in the recent past. On Monday a television anchor was molested by a man in full public view and the case did not just rest there, he was even cheered on by the onlookers. The screams of the victim were left unattended by dozens of people who were a witness to the incident.
"The fight continued for 18 minutes. We screamed for help. There were a lot of people there but nobody came for help. I even dialled 100 but nothing happened, nobody responded." recalls the victim.
The people feigned ignorance on being questioned aboout the incident, "I was told that the victims had come to get some food packed. I neither saw them nor the culprits," said a person in a nearby area.
"Everybody here is busy with their work. Something of this sort keeps happening every now and then. Nobody is bothered to go out," a witness said.
In the last 5 years, Bengal has shown a 142 per cent increase in crimes against women. Monday's molestation case is one of 5 such incidents in the past month alone.
On July 23, two housewives were molested inside a Metro rail compartment and the family was manhandled at Dum Dum station. In another incident on July 21, a techie had to leap out of a moving train on the outskirts of Kolkata to save herself from molestation. July 21 was a witness to another minor on the same day when she lodged a complaint with the police saying that she was repeatedly violated by the family that she was staying with. On July 17, an 11-year-old girl was molested inside a Metro rail compartment and on July 14, a French student was chased and her friend was beaten up at a posh locality in South Kolkata.
Subrata Ghosh, a friend of the Howrah victim who himself hails from Kolkata, feels saddened by the state of affairs in the state. "I don't live here anymore but I am disappointed with how things have turned converning law and order."
Despite its dubious distinction of topping the country in crimes against women, the political establishment in West Bengal seems to be in denial. It is this mentality that women say must change before they can feel safe once again.