Despite allegedly being harassed by a mob on Wednesday night and threatened with rape by a milk booth owner five years ago, Manipuri playwright and theatre artiste Swar Thounaojam insisted on calling the city her home.
“This is my city and I will fight for my space here,” she said. Swar, 32, agreed that the situation on the road might have worsened because she is from the northeast. “I may look different and that may have escalated the issue. But women from other states who don’t know the local language often face this kind of harassment Gender and racial discrimination always go hand in hand,” she said.
In 2007, Swar had gone to buy milk from a Nandini milk booth in BTM Layout. The man at the counter overcharged her for the milk. When she protested, they got into an argument. He allegedly abused her in Kannada and Hindi and threatened to rape her. She filed a complaint with the police but later the matter was closed.
On Wednesday, Swar was waiting in her car at Nettakallappa Circle for the signal to turn green. Suddenly, a speeding white Honda Activa rammed into her car. When she got down from the car and tried to speak to him about the compensation for the damage, he indulged in a verbal attack. “He kept on saying it was my mistake. I saw a policeman on the other side of the road and called him.
He asked me to park the car and I did. But instead of taking photos of both the vehicles or understanding what happened, he pushed me away,” said Swar adding that this drew the attention of the people and some men in the mob made sexual gestures at her. Finally, she went to the police station and filed two FIRs - on the road accident and harassment by the cop and crowd.
Swar said that she spent the entire day in Basavangudi police station on Thursday. The man involved in the accident had come and the police said that required procedure would be followed.
“The Inspector heard me out but he was non-committal about what action will be taken against the policeman. He said they will carry out the procedural inquiry,” she said.