Hours after he allegedly sexually harassed a 22-year-old female college student in Thane city of Maharashtra, police have arrested an autorickshaw driver, who had absconded after committing the offence, an official said on Saturday.
Terming the incident as “unfortunate”, Thane Guardian Minister Shambhuraj Desai said to prevent such crimes, the women’s safety programme, which was implemented as a pilot project in Satara district, will be extended to the entire state.
A team of the Thane Nagar police station caught the 36-year-old accused from Digha in neighbouring Navi Mumbai, following the incident that had occurred on Friday morning.
“We caught the accused within 24 hours,” senior inspector Jairaj Ranaware of the Thane Nagar police station said.
Three police teams had been formed for the purpose. They checked the CCTV footage and worked on intelligence inputs, before zeroing on the accused, he said.
The woman was on her way to college when the autorickshaw driver standing on the road passed some remarks about her and when she questioned him, he held her hand and pulled her towards him. When the accused tried to flee after this, the woman held on to his hand even as he started driving the three-wheeler. She got dragged for about 500 meters with the vehicle and fell, following which the accused fled, the police said.
Based on a complaint lodged by the woman, a case was registered against the accused under sections 354 (assault or use of criminal force to any woman to outrage her modesty), 354(A) (sexual harassment), 336 (rash or negligent act), 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way) of the Indian Penal Code, they said.
Meanwhile, the Thane guardian minister held a meeting with senior officials of the Thane Police Commissionerate during a visit to the city.
The “Mahila Pathadarshi Suraksha Prakalpa”, a women’s safety pilot project, which was implemented in Satara district, will be extended to the entire state, Desai said, adding that he will hold a meeting with the chief minister and his deputy in this regard.
The police will take measures to ensure that such incidences are not repeated and habitual offenders are monitored, he said.
Beat marshals, policemen in plain clothes and lady personnel should be deployed in large numbers near colleges, schools and coaching classes to prevent such unlawful acts, the minister said.
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