Saroj Gupta had approached the Malad police repeatedly, seeking action against a neighbour who harassed her family
The long and winding road to justice is fraught with obstacles -- none knows this truth better than sexual harassment victim Saroj Gupta, who can only take some comfort in the fact that in her case, justice was delayed, but not denied. The 45-year-old Malad resident had to make at least 50 trips to the police station and register 14 non- cognizable complaints against her harasser before the cops finally arrested him yesterday.
Justice at last: The relentless harassment of Nandlal Kunwarjiwala
forced victim Saroj Gupta and her two daughters to leave her Malad
home and seek refuge in a rented accommodation. PIC/Shadab Khan
MiD DAY had reported the woman's plight last year ('Peeping Toms drive women out of home,' April 18, 2011). The accused Nandlal Kunwarjiwala and complainant Gupta were neighbours in a chawl at Orlem Tank Road in Malad (West). According to Gupta, the culprit would make obscene gestures and pass lewd remarks at her daughters and her. Fed up with the harassment, she turned to the cops for help - no less than 50 times.
"He would often stand naked at the window, facing us. When I approached the police, they registered an NC. They would say that they were under pressure from a local politician," Gupta said.
Desperate, Gupta even met the neta in question, but he too refused to pay heed to her complaints. "The MLA said that the accused was a party worker, and there was little he could do to help me," she added.
Seeing no respite from the abusive neighbour, the Guptas shifted out of their house and started living at arented accommodation.
MiD DAY report on April 18, 2011.
Her prolonged three-year-long ordeal ended yesterday, when Malad police responded to her complaint and arrested Nandlal under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to a woman with the intent to outrage her modesty), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) of the IPC.
The arrest came after the cops registered an FIR against Nandlal on January 7.
"The lady was harassed repeatedly by the accused, following which she approached us very often. Taking note of her numerous complaints, we registered a complaint against the accused on Monday," said Vinod Patil, API of the Malad police station.
The BMC had also written a letter to the Malad police station, seeking police action against Nandlal for repeated violation against the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act. He had built an illegal window directly facing Gupta's kitchen. Standing before his window, he would make lewd gestures at Gupta and her daughters. Gupta had also registered several complaints against Nandlal with the BMC, demanding that the illegal window be blocked. BMC officials had closed off the window no less than three times, but Wala would cut it open again.