"All these were men who didn't even know each other, showing solidarity with something wrong and unjust."

People in pub supported attackers says woman hit on head with beer bottle in PuducherryImage for representation
news Monday, October 26, 2015 - 19:28

It is Monday, but Mrinmoyee Majumdar hasn't gone to work today. In fact she hasn't been to work since Friday, a day after a man broke a glass bottle on her head for protesting against his lewd behaviour in a pub-cum-restaurant.

"I am doing fine. Trying to work from home. But at the moment it is difficult to focus on work," Majumdar says speaking to The News Minute.

With three stitches on her head and several other smaller bruises on her head and face, the 34-year-old HR professional currently residing in Puducherry wonders what to make of the incident.

"I still feel there are glass shards stuck in my hair. The doctor has asked me not to wash my hair for now," she says.

The incident has only made Majumdar stronger. "I will definitely go back there. I will gather all my female friends and go to the same place," she says.

What happened to her, she feels, only "reflects the misogynistic attitude of people in the society".

There is also this sense of space she says, where women are not welcomed. "If you are a woman and go to a pub, 'a man's space', you should be okay with people staring at you," she says.

It has been one frenetic weekend for Majumdar, a Delhi-ite, from making rounds of the hospital to visiting the police station, filing complaints.

Recollecting the day, images of which float vividly in her mind, Majumdar narrates how a regular outing for dinner turned into a nightmare.

Majumdar, along with four of her friends, had gone to a pub and restaurant in the French town in Pondicherry on Thursday night.

It didn't take long for the "three young men", sitting in the table adjacent to theirs, to start staring at them.

"It was like they were playing some sort of game among themselves. They were staring at us. They made comments at us and then laughed. It made us very uncomfortable," says Majumdar.

After trying to ignore the men for a while, when Majumdar and her friends finally protested against the group's offensive behaviour, the men said they were not staring at them, but were watching the television.

"But the TV was not anywhere in the direction we were sitting," she adds quickly.

Though there was a "bit of an altercation" between the two parties, the men "seemed to have settled down" finally.

"After around 45 minutes, they got up, as if they were about to leave. One of the men made a comment in Tamil. A friend of mine who does understand Tamil, this time warned them to back off," she says.

This only made the group angrier and they even hit one of Majumdar's friends.

However, she was taken aback by the response from the other people present in the restaurant.

"Some just mutely watched and the rest, which were the majority, actively participated in adding fuel to the commotion, screaming and shouting in support of the men," Majumdar says.

That evening, the negative vibes Majumdar felt in the restaurant were almost "palpable".

"It was 'their' place and we were the outsiders, the aliens. And these were men who didn't even know each other, showing solidarity with something wrong and unjust," she states.

As the situation aggravated, with threats and abuses mounting, one of the men hit Majumdar on her head with a beer bottle.

"I was asking them to leave and did not notice one had a bottle in his hand," she says.

The men fled the scene immediately and the place "fell quiet".

The others, she says, behaved as if they "had not contributed in any way to what had just happened".

The rest went past in a mad rush. "I was bleeding and was taken to a hospital. We then went to the police station and filed an FIR," she recalls.

Majumdar goes on to point out that how even though the pub and restaurant had CCTV cameras installed, none of them were functional. "That is why it is taking more time to nab the men," she says.

Many people also told Majumdar that the incident took place because they were in a "local place".

"I am as local as anybody else there. I have the right to go wherever I choose to," she retorts.

 

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