A visit to the Chennai CitiCentre Mall turned out to be an appalling experience for a woman and her partner from Bengaluru. The 25-year-old woman alleges that an elevator operator of the mall touched her inappropriately. An elderly woman riding the elevator with the couple also allegedly raised a similar complaint. But, according to the young woman, the mall security manager disregarded their complaints and refused to take any action against him.
Around 7:30pm on Saturday, 25-year-old Smita* and her partner Naresh* went to the CityCentre Mall in Radhakrishna Salai.
â€śWe got into the lift after shopping. There was a short, middle-aged man in the lift who kept moving towards me and I thought it was because the lift was crowded but it was not because of that. He continued coming closer, so Naresh came in between and I was relieved. When we reached the ground floor, this guy suddenly came and kissed my arm. I was too angry, I was almost out of the lift. There was another lady whom he was rubbing. An old couple was shouting at him, we were expecting him to come out of the lift. But he did not come out, thatâ€™s when my boyfriend felt he is a lift operator. He was not wearing a uniform, though,â€ť Smita said.
Naresh then approached the security personnel at the gate and informed them about the incident. To his dismay, besides offering a casual apology, the security personnel refused to do anything else.
â€śThe security personnel did not take the complaint and by the time, I went back to find the culprit, there was another elevator operator in his place,â€ť Naresh said.
Smita says the security personnel instead defended the man, working as a lift operator, saying that the man is handicapped and will not do such a thing.
They then decided to escalate the matter and demanded to meet the manager.
â€śI asked the security manager for a CCTV footage to identify the man. To our surprise, he said that the CCTV operator was on leave and would be back only on Monday. So, I asked them if the police were to ask them the same question, would they respond like this. He said yes,â€ť Naresh recounts.
He said that they could not file a police complaint because they had to immediately leave for Bengaluru. â€śThis kind of thing is happening in the heart of Chennai and the most frustrating part is the reluctance of the security people to address such issues,â€ť added Naresh.
When TNM contacted a security official at the mall he denied that any such incident had taken place in the mall. â€śWe have not received any complaint like this, and our CCTV footages are always working and an operator is always there to check it,â€ť said the official.