Bengaluru: A burqa clad woman ‘molested’ not at night, but early morning at 6.30 a.m., her tongue bitten in the attack! These visuals had shocked not just Bangloreans, but Indians all over. Further, the attack hadn’t happened on the 1st morning, hours after the horrifying night of 31st which saw utter mayhem and chaos on Bengaluru streets, but 3 days later on 4th January.
On 1st Jan. 2017, CCTV footage of a woman from Kammanahalli returning to her P.G. accommodation being molested by two guys on a two wheeler had gone viral.
It comes to light now, that this scene of molestation, was an inspiration for 34 years old Irshad Khan and his sister-in-law (saali) to stage manage the attack on the saali, early morning some days later.
The whole country was in an uproar over the issue of women safety on the streets of a ‘safe city’ like Bengaluru. Some influential men were blaming the woman for being scantily clad and out on the road late at night thus ‘attracting’ the attacks. And then here we have a case where the woman is dressed, or rather covered from tip to toe in a burqa, being attacked in the morning when on her way to work. The video of this attack and the close up of the woman’s tongue – where surprisingly she has no reservations about her face being seen – soon surpassed the previous video.
“Look here!” said concerned feminists ” it is not about how the woman is dressed and what time she is out… even a woman in a burqa early in the morning can be attacked so ruthlessly! How can any woman be considered safe in Bengaluru now?”
Well, now it appears it was a case of ‘making hay while the sun shines’. Exploit the concern about women’s safety to present an even more horrifying case. Ensure that the ‘act’ of molestation is captured unmistakably by a CCTV, make sure the media, specially the electronic media, have copies of the battered woman’s image, spread this ‘news’ far and wide.
The purpose of the whole exercise? Ensure the sister in law is not married off by her parents! The logic was, once her photo is seen far and wide and her identity is known, no family will want her as their ‘bahu’.
Everything went as planned. The case got a lot of publicity, horrified people as it was meant to do, and brought immense pressure on the Bengaluru police to solve the case and arrest the perpetrator asap.
Here is where Irshad Khan made his big mistake. In fact he made two mistakes.
First, he had identified only one CCTV camera that was meant to capture the attack. He did not bother to find out about other cameras in the lane which would capture the minutes before the attack. These cameras caught the woman speaking with her ‘attacker’ ( his face covered by a mask) and walking with him before the attack. They also captured the gait of the man who walked with a sight limp.
The second mistake Irshad made was making too many rounds of the police station, pressuring them to catch the attacker. The police soon noticed that he too walked with a little limp. Once bells of suspicion began ringing, they checked the duo’s cell phone records and discovered they had talked on the phone almost 400 times that morning. The Cell tower locations put him in the same area at the time of the attack. It didn’t take long for the case to unravel completely after that.
According to the police, Irshad is married to the ‘victim’s’ elder sister. She works as an executive in a private bank and the couple even have a 3 and 1/2 years old child. In these circumstances the much married Irshad, fell in love with his wife’s younger sister. She seemed to reciprocate his feelings.
Meanwhile, the woman’s family began searching for a groom for the girl which caused the love birds to panic. Everything being fair in love and war, the brother in law decided to stage manage the attack on his beloved thinking the public attention would ruin marriage plans of the family.
Irshad did a reconnaissance of the area from where his sister in law walked every morning. He identified Govindpura circle where a CCTV was installed. He allegedly explained his plan to his sister in law who agreed to it.
On the morning of the 4th he put on a cap and a pullover and then ‘molested’ her in view of the CCTV. The woman then bit her own tongue and scratched herself with a safety pin to show how ‘brutal’ the attack had been.
As per the plan, Irshad then himself rushed to the spot and took the ‘victim’ to Dr. Ambedkar hospital to get a medico legal case filed. He then had the footage of the CCTV removed and took it to the police.
K.P. Ravi, Asst. Commisioner of Police, Bengaluru discloses that Irshad contacted several NGOs to pressure the police to trace the accused.
“He also shared the CCTV camera footage with media in an effort to gain publicity of the attack” said Ravi.
The case soon got more than the required publicity and police showed great efficiency in investigating it. More than Irshad had bargained for, who has now confessed to the ‘crime’.
The police are contemplating whether they should arrest the woman too as an accomplice.
A striking example of what love, not sanctioned by society can make lovers resort too, but not a good happening for women who are genuine victims and others, worried about safety issues.