Beaten for Sitting With A Boy, Kolkata Girl Takes On Moral Police
A 20-year-old student of Jadavpur University has taken to Facebook to call out people in her locality who abused, shamed and assaulted her for sitting with a male friend in a public park. Shataparni Bhattacharya, a second-year English Literature student had called over a friend to her housing locality on 25 January. “I’m not allowed to have friends home so we decided to go to the park nearby. I was sick,” Shataparni told The Quint.
My friend had his arm around me when a bunch of women from the locality came and asked us to “sit properly” and started harassing us. This was at 4.30pm, in broad daylight. My friend removed his arm from my shoulder when they reproached us and the ladies walked away.Shataparni to The Quint
“As they were walking away I told my friend that they were unnecessarily harassing us. I think they heard me. Shortly after two people in plain clothes, claiming to be cops turned up at the spot and started asking us to “be appropriate”. When I asked them what their issue was, they asked me to shut up because I’m a girl,” said Shataparni.
However, Shataparni’s ordeal had just begun. As the “cops” threatened to “set their guys” on the duo, the group of women came back (with more people this time) and started verbally abusing them.
They called me a “bad girl” and “shameless” and a bunch of other names.Shataparni to The Quint
Seeing the situation get out of control, Shataparni called up her father who asked her to leave the scene immediately.
Just when she was about to leave, the women assaulted her. They pulled her hair, punched her and hit her on the head. Her male friend was restrained by the “cops” so that he couldn’t come to her rescue.
This is when Shataparni got an anxiety attack and started kicking around in retaliation. Her friend managed to pull out his phone and was about to start taking a video, in turn prompting everyone to back off.
Her attackers were women of the neighbourhood, Shataparni said.
It took Shataparni time to make the incident public but she gathered the courage to write to the Kolkata Police on Facebook. The Kolkata Police redirected her to the Bidhannagar Police who did say that they will look into the case on 28 January, but Shataparni is yet to receive an update on her complaint.
She also put up a Facebook post to shame her harassers.
After her ordeal, what would she like to say to her moral police?
Firstly, know your legal rights and understand that other people have rights too. Don’t try to take the law into your own hands. Secondly, change your mindset. We were just sitting together, not causing any harm to anyone. So what was their problem? Moral policing is regressive. Why not put all that thought and effort into doing something that benefits society?Shataparni to The Quint