Mumbai: Trans woman beaten up in Andheri bar
Beauty queen alleges that her assailants even damaged her implants, but lenient cops did not even add molestation charges
A group of people allegedly assaulted and tried to disrobe a transwoman who was attending a friend's birthday party at an Andheri restaurant recently. The transwoman, Shivali Chhetri, who won the Ms Style Icon at the Miss Transsexual India 2017 contest, chased the accused in an auto for a few kilometres, called for police assistance by dialling 100 and got them detained. She has, however, said the police did not take her case seriously as she is a transwoman.
The accused — identified as Vijay Humrathkar, 28, Ganesh Kadam, 30, Vishesh Solanki, 25 — were released by the MIDC police after just being served a notice. Chhetri has alleged that the police did not take the matter too seriously because she is a transgender.
According to the complainant's statement, on September 23 at around 1.30am, she ran into a friend near Infiniti Mall and accompanied him to a common friend's birthday party at Apna Dhaba in Andheri West. "I reached Apna Dhaba around 3am and had beer and dinner with my friends. After some time, everyone left and I was the only one finishing my dinner. A patron at another table was asking me to join him, but I ignored him.
"He and two of his friends approached me and one asked to be friends with me. The beer I had had was making me feel like vomiting so I went to the bathroom [for women] but this man followed me there, grabbed me from behind, and touched me inappropriately. I tried to push him away but he tried to remove my clothes. As I continued to resist, the other two also entered the washroom and one of them slapped me."
When Chhetri started screaming for help, the group fled in an auto. Chhetri followed them in another auto-rickshaw and called police for help. The cops arrived soon and the trio was apprehended near Powai. Speaking to mid-day, Chhetri said, "The police refused to take my case seriously as I am a transgender. They did not even assign a woman police constable to accompany for my medical check-up. I demanded that the FIR be filed under Section 354A (Sexual Harassment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) but they registered one under 354B (Assault with intent to disrobe). They did this just to benefit the accused, who were released after just being served a notice."
"I recently got breast implants and the men kicked me in my chest. This caused a swelling and the fluid in the implants got damaged. They pulled my hair even at the police station," Chhetri said. When mid-day asked Senior Inspector of Police of MIDC police Anil Koli why Section 354A was not applied in the matter he said, "The case was registered immediately after the police was approached as per the appropriate sections of the IPC. A further inquiry in the case is being done. We have all the details of the accused. They have been released after being given a notice." The other IPC Sections applied in the case by MIDC police are 324 (Assault) and 34 (Common intention).
Day the incident took place
IPC section for sexual harassment that should have been applied
IPC section for disrobing a woman that MIDC police applied in the case
Sujay Kantawala, Lawyer
"All cases against transgenders have to be registered under Section 354A which is gender neutral even though it is worded as an assault against a woman. The Delhi High Court was informed in a matter that this will be followed by Delhi police in all cases. As this has happened post the NALSA judgment, the accused should have been arrested immediately after registering the case under section 354A, not 354B."
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