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‘If Delhi is unsafe for a woman police officer, what about common girls?’

New Delhi: Three youths literally caught the wrong hand when a woman they tried to molest turned out to be a Delhi Police constable.

While recently returning home from work in west Delhi’s Mayapuri area around 10 p.m., the woman was chased by three youths who, apart from passing derogatory and lewd remarks, advanced and caught hold of her hands.

After the woman resisted and shouted that she was a police officer, the three youths – in their early 20s – ran away. She then registered an FIR against the trio, who turned out to be from the same neighbourhood where she stayed.

Later, on the intervention of some people, she agreed to retract her complaint. The matter could well have been hushed up and ended there, but it reached the Delhi High Court for quashing the FIR. Justice Pratibha Rani, before whom the matter came up for hearing, expressed shock that not only civilians but even Delhi Police officers were not safe from being sexually harassed in the capital.

She slammed the youths for “disrespecting women”, asking: If a woman police officer can’t walk on the street what will happen to common girls? A recent Delhi Police report submitted to the high court had pointed towards a 16 percent rise in cases of crime against women in the capital.

Despite the furore in the wake of the Dec 16, 2012, gang-rape, there has been a record 35 percent rise, with 1,794 rapes being reported so far this year against 1,330 last year.

Police statistics also show that the number of molestation and eve-teasing cases have increased as well. Delhi recorded over 3,450 cases of molestation and 1,024 cases of eve-teasing this year against 2,544 and 793 cases last year.

Remarking that the woman constable should have taught the accused a lesson then and there, the judge said: “You were alone that time (when the accused were molesting the constable). Now, we will teach them a good lesson so that they will be afraid to do so again.”

“If a Delhi Police officer can’t walk on the street what will happen to common girls?” Justice Rani asked, refusing to quash the FIR.

During the hearing the court asked one of the three accused to read the FIR.

When the accused hesitated, the judge said: “You were not ashamed of molesting the lady and now you are shying away from reading the FIR.”

Indicating that it was not going to let the accused get off lightly, the high court asked the three accused to bring their parents on Dec 1, the next date of hearing.