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After the Mumbai Police was left embarrassed for treating a molestation complaint by a 26-year old make-up artist from Manipur as a non-cognisable offence, the police detained the accused from Bengaluru on Thursday.
Accused Vijay Jadhav, a resident of Vakola, has been charged with outraging a woman's modesty and voluntarily causing hurt, under the IPC.
The Vakola police were on the lookout for the accused for allegedly assaulting the victim on a busy street in Kalina last Saturday. Having registered a non-cognisable complaint initially, the police registered an FIR after media intervention. In her complaint, the victim has alleged racial discrimination.
The incident took place on February 27 when the victim, who hails from Manipur and has been residing in Mumbai for the past five years, was passing by the Kalina area with a friend around 6:30 pm. As they were crossing the Palm Villa society, an unknown person allegedly spat "looking at her''. As per her account, when she objected to that, he started beating her up.
Zonal Deputy Commissioner Virendra Mishra said the police tracked the accused to another state and he would be brought to Mumbai soon. While the FIR said the accused spat looking at the victim, her sister alleged that he spat on her and asserted it to be a case of racial discrimination. "He spat on my sister. When she gave him a look, he started kicking her. He pulled her hair and slapped her repeatedly. Nobody helped my sister," she told the media.
"We gave all the details to the police but they only took an NC (non-cognisable complaint). We thought it was an FIR as the document was in Marathi and we cannot read Marathi. It was only later that we learnt the police only took an NC," she added.
"It is a case of racial discrimination. He beat her up for no reason. She was beaten owing to our facial features," she said.
Mishra said they had started an inquiry to find out if the police were negligent in any way while dealing with the case. "The assistant commissioner of police has been assigned the task of inquiring into the matter," he said.
However, while the probe into the assault has confirmed "molestation", it asserted that the accused "did not spit on the victim", as alleged by her. The probe said a scuffle broke out between the two after the man's slippers accidentally landed on her.
"Eyewitness said the accused did not spit on the victim but one of his slippers landed on the woman leading to a verbal spat between the two that further escalated to a physical assault," said an official privy to the probe.
The accused is a married man with a child. The officer said the locals categorically recalled him "apologising" to the woman.
"The locals claim that abuses were hurled by both parties and suddenly slaps were thrown at each other. Regardless of who slapped first, the man raised his hand on the woman and has outraged her modesty," said a police officer.
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