India

India 'sexual harassment' video men held

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionPooja Kumar says other passengers "did nothing" during the incident on a bus

Three men are in jail in India after they were filmed being beaten on a bus by two sisters who accused them of sexual harassment.

A court remanded the men in custody for 14 days.

Mobile phone video of the incident, recorded by a passenger, has gone viral and comes amid growing concern in India about sexual violence against women.

The fatal gang rape of a student in Delhi in December 2012 prompted outrage and tougher anti-rape laws.

Correspondents say public sexual harassment of women, dubbed "Eve teasing" in India, is rampant in parts of the country and causes misery for women when they go out.

The latest incident happened in Rohtak district in the northern state of Haryana when the sisters, who are students, 22-year-old Aarti and 19-year-old Pooja Kumar, were on their way home.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption"The sisters removed their belts and were trying to lash out at the men" reports Yogita Limaye from Delhi

Pooja told BBC Hindi that the three young men "threatened us and abused us".

"The men started to abuse me and touch me," she said.

"I told them 'if you touch me again, you'll get beaten up'. They called a friend on the phone and told him to 'come over because we have to beat up some girls'."

She said they decided to take on the attackers when other passengers did not come to their aid.

"No one came forward in the bus to help us. So we took out our belts in self-defence [and hit the men].

"If only the other passengers had helped us, we would not have needed to retaliate in this way," said Pooja.


Analysis: Geeta Pandey, BBC News, Delhi

Women in India are taught early on in life to develop a thick skin while walking on the streets or using public transport - they are told to ignore catcalls and lewd comments, avoid the predatory male gaze, even move away quietly when a man pinches them on the buttocks or elbows them in the breast.

Any woman growing up or living in India knows the feeling of shame and rage that such harassment causes. But despite being told to take flight - not fight - women across India have been regularly fighting back.

As college students, we grew our nails and carried umbrellas to push back a man who got too close for comfort. Sometimes, a particularly bold friend would slap a man.

But since the 2012 gang rape and murder on a Delhi bus, gender issues have been more in focus and there is a stronger feeling among women today that they won't remain quiet when harassed.

For the sisters, seen in the video fighting men who allegedly teased them and touched them inappropriately, it appeared to be a battle for life and death.

And the women's fight has been brought into the public consciousness by the shocking video - shot reportedly by a pregnant woman on the bus, who despite considerable risk to herself decided to film the whole episode while most other passengers looked the other way.

India fightback video: 'Why I beat up three men with my belt'

Why furious fightback gripped Indiasisters


However, the video of the incident shows at least one male passenger repeatedly trying to separate one of the men from the women.

Police in Rohtak said they would charge the men in two days and request a speedy trial. They have also appealed to those travelling on the bus to come forward and be witnesses in the case.

The state authorities said the bus driver and the conductor had been suspended for failing to help the sisters.

Meanwhile, the women's spirited fight has earned them much praise - the state government has announced plans to honour them with bravery awards on Republic Day (26 January).

Messages of support have been pouring in on social media, with many people using the hashtag #RohtakBravehearts on Twitter:

Image copyright Tweet
Image copyright Tweet
Image copyright Tweet

Congress Party MP Naveen Jindal said it was "shameful" that no-one on the bus came forward to help the women:

Image copyright Tweet

More on this story