In an incident that is shocking but not surprising, a woman posted on Facebook about her harrowing experience of being harassed by an intoxicated man on a train in Kerala, but other passengers chose not to intervene.
Alice Cheevel was on the Kerala Express train, on her way to Thrissur, when the incident took place. She was on the upper berth when she heard a commotion below. “Suddenly, I heard some noise and found that a man was trying to harass a young woman,” she wrote. There were passengers on the train, Alice said, but they remained mute spectators. When she questioned the man, he began to verbally abuse her and walked towards her.
"I slapped him on his face. He then tried to drag me down from my berth. I slapped him again,” she wrote.
Following this, the man tugged at her clothes, attempting to disrobe her. Amidst the ruckus, a few women and many men who were in the compartment rushed to see what was happening but didn’t do anything.
“Finally, someone brought the TT. The man even tried to attack the official, physically and verbally,” Alice wrote.
In her post, Alice said that the man was under the influence of drugs and that the ruckus went on for an hour, but no one intervened. “The clamour continued for over an hour. Despite this, no police reached the spot," she wrote, hinting at the lack of security in the train.
An elderly man finally came to Alice’s aid and knocked the man down. As per Alice’s post, following this, other men on the train beat the man up.
“There would have been a murder on the train. If he was not taken down, either I would have been killed or he would have been killed; if not, another woman,” she said.
When the train reached the Thrissur station, the man was nabbed by the police, and Alice gave her statement.
Speaking to TNM, an official of the Railway Police station, Thrissur, said that the man was arrested. Identified as 24-year-old Kannur native Afnaz, the official said that he was under the influence of alcohol. “He has been booked under IPC sections 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 294(b) (punishment for singing, reciting or uttering any obscene song, ballad or words in or near any public place), and 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty). He is right now at the Railway Police Station,” the official said.
Alice described the incident as the day when her hate and disdain for men increased. "Although I would like to believe that not all are the same," she wrote.
(With inputs from Korah Abraham)