At a time when the Mumbai police have been primed to handle cases of molestation and rape with sensitivity and on priority, it took the Parksite police station in the central suburb of Vikhroli over 15 months to book three employees of a security firm in a case of molestation.
The victim, 31-year-old Urmila Pawar (name changed) who worked as a security guard at G4S Security Services India Pvt Ltd, first approached the Parksite police in March last year, stating that her colleagues were molesting her. She had approached several authorities at the time but none of them heeded her complaint, she said.
Finally, on June 12 of this year the police filed an FIR on her complaint under sections 509 (insulting a woman’s modesty), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (acts done by several persons) of the Indian Penal Code against the three accused Prakash Kale, Prashant Sawant and one Patil. Pawar, a resident of Bhandup, had been working for G4S as a guard since 2008. She was deployed at Atos Solutions, an IT firm in Vikhroli, for the past one-and-a-half years. On March 4, 2012, around 7.40 pm, security personnel Prakash Kale approached Pawar and started misbehaving with her.
“Kale was drunk. He was misbehaving with me. I ignored him at first. He held my hand and asked me to go in a corner and passed obscene gestures,” said Pawar. She immediately complained against Kale to supervisor Shashikant Khandagale. Khandagale allegedly favoured Kale and said he had done nothing wrong. After that, Pawar complained to several authorities including the police and the state women’s commission but none of them took cognisance of the case, she said.
“The then senior inspector of Parksite police Sambhaji Patil, who has now retired, told me he was unable to figure out which section the matter would be registered. I gave him in writing the sections under which the matter should be registered,” said Pawar. Meanwhile, one of the union leaders in the same company had also been sexually harassing Pawar. “Till date he has sent 14 SMSes from different mobile phones, demanding sexual favours. But, on May 11, the company issued me a notice and I was literally pushed out of the office,” Pawar said.
Since then Pawar has been toiling to get justice. On June 12 this year, the Parksite police finally booked the three accused in the molestation case. “We have registered an FIR against the G4S guards. The matter is under investigation,” said Sudhakar Sakpal, senior inspector of Parksite police station.
The Other Side
“I am aware of Pawar’s police complaint. She has also complained to the State Women’s Commission, Maharashtra. We have replied to the SWCM. You can collect details from the police,” said Sudhakar Surve, human resources manager, G4S.