Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal on Thursday alleged she was molested by an inebriated man and dragged by his car for 10-15 metres outside AIIMS with her hand stuck in the vehicle’s window as he drove on.
A 47-year-old man living in south Delhi’s Sangam Vihar has been arrested following the incident which took place in the early hours of the day.
The DCW chief said she was out in the night to inspect the state of women security in Delhi along with her team, in the wake of the Kanjhawla hit-and-drag incident in which a 20-year-old woman was dragged to death while trapped under a car in the national capital.
Maliwal’s team was with her during the inspection, although it was stationed at some distance.
“Last night, I was inspecting the situation of women safety in Delhi. A car driver, in an inebriated condition, harassed me and when I caught hold of him, he rolled up the window pane on my hand and dragged me along. God saved my life. If the chairperson of the women’s commission is not safe in Delhi, one can then imagine the situation,” she tweeted about the incident in Hindi.
“While on the inspection, a man molested me and dragged me with his car. If the DCW chief isn’t safe in Delhi, one can imagine how unsafe Delhi is for women,” Maliwal said.
Later, the DCW issued a statement saying Maliwal was standing at a bus stop on Ring Road opposite AIIMS when the car approached her.
“The driver rolled down the window and asked her to sit in the car but she refused. The man stared at her for sometime and left the spot but again approached her after a while. He again asked her to sit in his car but she again refused. He started making lewd gestures towards her,” it said.
“When she approached him to reprimand him, he made a vulgar gesture towards her. When she tried to catch hold of him, he rolled up the window due to which Maliwal’s hand got stuck in it. He then pressed the accelerator to drag her for several metres with the car. She somehow managed to escape,” the statement added.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Chandan Chowdhary said a patrol vehicle spotted her on the pavement opposite AIIMS around 3.05 am and enquired if she was in distress. After Maliwal narrated her ordeal, the police tracked the car down and arrested its driver Harish Chandra.
Chowdhary said a case was registered under IPC sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act at Kotla Mubarak Pur based on a complaint from the DCW chief.
In the statement, the Delhi women’s panel said Maliwal visited several places near Kanjhawala, Munirka, Mundka and Hauz Khas following the Kanjhawla case, where she observed dark spots and deployment of police personnel. She also stopped at several bus stops at night and observed the safety situation, it added.
The case refers to the death of Anjali Singh, who was killed in the early hours of New Year day after her scooter was hit by a car, which dragged her for more than 12 kilometres from Sultanpuri to Kanjhawala.
Maliwal also said that during her night inspections, she observed several dark spots in different areas and will be issuing notices to the authorities concerned.
The National Commission for Women has sought a report from the Delhi Police on the matter.
“@NCWIndia has taken cognizance of the matter. The Commission is seeking report from @DelhiPolice and writing to take strict action against the accused,” it said in a tweet.
NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma tweeted, “Shocking incident. NCW is seeking report from Delhi Police and writing for strict action against the perpetrator.”