When you're threatened with a knife, called a "whore" for living independently

Aanchal Kalra, a 25-year-old writer/photographer was threatened by her security guard who pulled out a knife and said that he would stab her

When you're threatened with a knife, called a "whore" for living independently

25-year-old Aanchal Kalra is a writer and photographer who lives independently in a high-rise society in Bandra. She is an open-minded, young woman who lives life on her own terms. Aanchal came across 39-year-old Rajesh Kumar Lalji Prasad Nishad who is a security guard at Silver Springs which is located at Perry Cross Road, Bandra and this encounter has been a little unpleasant for a girl who lives independently. The security guard has been harassing her verbally for a while now and she had enough of it. After being called a whore (and I'm sure he used the Hindi counterpart of that word) for living alone, inviting friends over, coming home late from a party or in simple terms, minding her own business and living her life the way she wanted to without bothering other people. 

This security guard continued to harass her and Aanchal couldn't wait till the accused cross all limits and hurt her. She picked up her phone and filed a complaint against him. 

After a strenuous follow-up, he was arrested and Bandra police filed an FIR under sections 354 (a), 509, 506 (2) of IPC. On Tuesday he was produced in the court and was given police custody till December 7, 2017. 

She took to Facebook and ranted out the whole episode she faced that dreadful Sunday.

On Sunday, 3rd December 2017 around 7:30 pm I filled a complaint against my building day guard for threatening to stab me while calling me names like whore.

He was drunk on his duty and has made such remarks about various single women in the building, I took a stand yesterday and that’s when he pulled out a knife saying he’ll cut me in pieces and no one will be able to touch him, cause who is going to side with a single woman who is a tenant, occasionally comes home late after partying and has male company.
The cops tried their best to discourage me from filing a complaint, they stooped down to the level of trying to blame things on me, saying ‘Oh! But you seem to have had a couple of drinks yourself.’

Apparently, me being out on a Sunday brunch celebrating a friend’s birthday is a bigger crime than the guard being pitch drunk on his duty, calling me names and threatening to stab me and get me disappeared.
Did I mention that he called a few of his buddies over to back him as he said all those things?

After refusing to back down I managed to get the cops to file an official complaint, this morning the guard is roaming around freely in the building like nothing happened and now my safety is seriously compromised, cause this person knows my routine and where I live.
The building committee suggested that I should have ignored his remarks, since he is a scum and has done this on multiple occasions, and somehow I am too at fault for retaliating by screaming when he crossed the line.

When Mumbai Live got in touch with Aanchal, she mentioned that this was not the first time she was being harassed by the security guard. It was on her birthday in October when he passed a remark when her friends had visited her. “Jaaiye jaaiye, yahatohbahot customer aatehain,” were his words, stated Aanchal.

I dialed 100 and told them that a man has threatened me with a knife, the lady on the other side asked me not to worry as the police will arrive. It took them 50 minutes to arrive at the scene when I stay only 10 minutes away from Bandra police station. Between this, I called them twice, almost yelling. When I shared my ordeal with them, they started dissuading me from filing a police complaint and said: “Chodo jaane do, pike baitha hain”. I pleaded with them over not setting him free. But the next day, I saw him in the building. I went to the society members and asked them to take action against him. They tried pacifying me saying that he will not speak to you henceforth. They asked him not to talk me. I was agitated. Thankfully, because I could reach out to someone like Trisha Shetty (social activist), an FIR was filed against him and he was arrested,” Aanchal Kalra. 

She vented out on FB furthermore
But now they have ‘promised’ me that he’ll be sacked but the question is, why is he out on the streets to begin with? And secondly, why has he been an employee of the building after numerous complaints against him? I made 2 complaints myself just last month.

Do we have no regard for the safety of single tenants? No one is giving me a break on my rent for putting up with the harassment, why do I need to give a break to the guard when it comes to my dignity and safety?
I’m gonna walk on the street scared today. Someone might harass me, throw acid on my face or even kidnap me.

And no! It’s not an overreaction, it’s a valid concern.

Aanchal pressed upon the lackadaisical attitude of society members who persuaded her that henceforth the watchman will not speak to her and she should do the same. “When I intervened asking the security guard, Aap pike baithe the? He replied, Haan toh, har roz main pita hoon.” 

Further, when the chairman asked him “Kya tumne chaku nikala, tumne randi (whore) bola?” watchman said “Haan nikala, haan bola." 

"He was shameless and society members did nothing."

This is not just Aanchal’s case, there are so many girls living in this society who have to go through this just because they live independently and have an outgoing life. 

Mumbai’s high-profile case of Pallavi Purkayastha, who was found dead on August 9, 2012, at her 16th-floor apartment at Himalayan Heights in Wadala triggered many questions about women safety. She was killed by her watchman Sajjad Ahmed Abdul Aziz Mogul alias Pathan who deliberately tripped her electricity connection and accompanied an electrician to her apartment. Once inside the house, he took the keys to her flat, later entered her flat and tried molesting her. She put up a fight but he stabbed her and fled. He was arrested the next day. According to the police, he wanted to have physical relations with her. She had told her boyfriend Avik Sengupta about his constant stares but he took it lightly.

The mentality is also responsible for the same but support from the society and police is equally important in such cases. In Pallavi Puryakastha’s case, the watchman planned it meticulously and then tried raping her.

In Aanchal's case, she believes that society or police would have reacted in a better way if she would have been staying with her family. Just because she stays with her flatmates, she was blatantly ignored. 

Such cases need to be addressed right from the start as we cannot wait for the accused to do something extreme which will then spark a loud wave of support from the authorities and people. Such cases are common in our city and such cases need to be dealt with. 

If we don't nip it in the bud, the situation might worsen. What if the security guard hits back with a vengeance? Who will come out for help? 

Mumbai Live supports young, independent women who are working hard to build a life on their own but are oppressed because somebody, somewhere will call them a "whore" for living life on their own terms. Women shouldn't tolerate harassment at any level. 

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