A freelance journalist, Ashwini Malhotra, has many injuries to his face from being beaten up by three men who he stopped from molesting a teenaged girl on Monday evening in Jalandhar, Punjab. Only last week, a cop was killed allegedly by the man who he tried to stop from stalking his daughter. Eight people have been arrested in the case so far.
At about 5 pm, Mr Malhotra, who does assignments with NDTV, says he saw three men on motorbikes harassing the young girl near a busy marketplace in Bhagat Singh chowk. The journalist says the men seemed drunk and one of them even tried to grab the girl. Mr Malhotra intervened; one of the men fled, while the other two were held by shopkeepers in the area who came to help when the journalist raised an alarm.
The man who had escaped, returned with a mob of 25 and allegedly attacked Mr Malhotra and others who had intervened. "One of the three guys went and brought people with him. The moment they came, they started beating me...At least 20-30 people were there, all of them were drunk. The person I stopped had a bottle of alcohol with him," the journalist said. Mr Malhotra has multiple injuries to his face, hands and legs. He is in hospital.
City journalists and local shopkeepers are protesting against the law and order situation. "A girl was returning home after work...some men misbehaved with her. A local reporter present there intervened. The men beat him up badly...We are frustrated with the Punjab Police for their inaction. These men were armed with 'kirpans' and they kept beating up the reporter...we demand a full probe," Surinder Paul, an official of the Punjab Press Club said.
All the men in the mob and the three who harassed the young girl were reportedly part of a wedding party. A case has been registered; eight have been arrested, the rest ran away when the police arrived. "Some people came to us with injuries, we have recorded their statements...We will launch a complete investigation...police will take action against whoever is responsible," Navjot Mahal, Assistant Commissioner of Police said (ACP), Jalandhar said.
In the last week there have been at least two cases where people who tried to stop men from harassing women have been attacked. On Wednesday, a police officer was shot dead in broad daylight allegedly by a former leader of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal in Amritsar after he tried to resist his daughter's harassment by the latter and his associates. In Mumbai, a 19-year-old was stabbed to death in full public view by five people after he allegedly objected to the latter teasing a girl who was with him.