Barely a month into her new job, a 22-year-old postwoman is now terrified of going back to work after a security guard allegedly molested her during a delivery on Wednesday, raising questions about the safety of postwomen in the city.
Sources at the postal service said that the attack could have been prevented altogether if the survivor had been provided with the mandatory uniform. Women were allowed to join the postal service in Mumbai from 1991, and in the years since, their numbers have swelled to over 500 postwomen.
However, for the past five years, there have been constant complaints that female staffers are not given the mandatory uniforms - khaki sarees or shirts - and are sometimes not given identity cards either.
This paper had reported yesterday that the postwoman was on her way to make a delivery in a Juhu residential building on Wednesday afternoon, when the security guard allegedly dragged her into the lift and molested her (‘Security guard forces postwoman into lift, molests her’, mid-day).
The survivor was not provided with the uniform or an identity card, and was wearing her own clothes - a salwar kameez. According to her colleagues, if the security guard had seen her in the uniform he might have hesitated to attack a government employee.
Cops arrested the accused, Vidyakanth Mishra (19) and he was produced in court yesterday and remanded in police custody. According to the police, although the building has four CCTV cameras, the lift is not covered by any of them.
The survivor said, in her statement, that her hands, arms and waist had been injured when she was forced into the lift. She added that when the lift’s door opened on the seventh floor, the security guard attempted to drag her to the terrace, but she escaped and ran to a resident on the fifth floor for help.
“Had she not resisted, the security guard would have managed to drag her to the terrace, as none of the residents had opened their doors in spite of her screaming for help,” said the postwoman’s colleague who arrived at the scene soon after.
Shaken by the attack
The survivor has been given three days off from work to recover from the incident. However, in her terror, she has refused to go back on the field and has instead been transferred to a desk job in the Juhu post office.
According to her colleague and neighbour, the survivor was shaken by the attack, especially because it took place in broad daylight in a ‘safe’ residential neighbourhood.
“She wanted to leave the job but cannot do so, as she has three younger sisters and is the only earning member in the family. She joined work a month ago, after the death of her father, who was also a postman,” added the neighbour.