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Journalism student harassed in BMTC bus for crossing her legs, not speaking Kannada

Friend slapped by another commuter; victim says police did not register case as she didn’t know Kannada; DCP denies allegations 

Published: 30th November 2019 06:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th November 2019 12:55 PM   |  A+A-

Sexual assault, harassment, graphic, vijesh

Image for representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: A 20-year-old journalism student was kicked by a commuter on a BMTC bus for sitting cross-legged and was allegedly roughed up by about six other fellow-passengers for not knowing Kannada and not following their orders not to cross her legs while sitting. 

According to the young woman, Bengaluru’s Kengeri police heard only the commuters’ version, which was in Kannada, but chose to ignore her complaint as she and her friends did not know the language. 

Puja Das, pursuing her post-graduation in journalism from a reputed city-based journalism school, said, “I am extremely upset about this whole incident. Two of my classmates and I boarded a BMTC bus from Kumbalgod to go to Mysore Road metro station. I was sitting next to my classmate and was sitting cross-legged as I felt comfortable sitting like that.”

A person aged about 35, kicked Puja’s leg, to which her male friend took objection.

The man allegedly slapped Puja’s friend even as six to seven other commuters began to abuse them in Kannada and started roughing them up.

They also screamed in loud voice asking the girl to sit straight and not cross-legged.

They continued to do so despite her pleas to stop it.

Later, Puja and her friends along with the five men went to Kengeri police station to sort out the issue. Puja said she and her friends tried to explain their side of the story in Hindi and English.

“But they didn’t want to listen to us. They were only listening to what those five men were saying,” she said.

However, as Puja and her friends’ efforts to narrate their ordeal failed, they left the station. 

Puja then took to Twitter to explain her situation and expressed unhappiness on the way they were treated by the police for not knowing the language. She posted a video too (which is with TNIE). 

DCP West Ramesh Banoth said, “I checked with the inspector (Kengeri police station) and according to him it was he who attended the case and there was no language issue as such. There was an argument over her foot touching a senior citizen and the public had abused the three. However, no one lodged any complaint. Language has not been an issue. Even constables do understand English,” he said.

Puja said, “Then it only means that they were not ready to acknowledge my complaint. It is sad that they pretended like they didn’t know the language. There was no inspector there. It was only one officer with a single star (Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police),” she added.

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