Residents and college students took to the streets in support of two women who were sexually harassed allegedly by a taxi driver, in Surathkal on Saturday.

The two women were waiting for a bus to Bangalore in the night of September 1, when the taxi driver, Deepak (21), allegedly drove the vehicle over their baggage. When the women shouted at him for rash driving, he allegedly made sexual advances towards them. He, however, sped away when they raised an alarm, according to a police complaint filed by the women.

Following the complaint, Surathkal police traced Deepak with the help of other taxi drivers and arrested him. The police booked him under Section 354 (Assault on woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code. Nagarika Hitrakshana Samiti and students of Govindadasa College carried out a protest march from Surathkal Junction to Surathkal police station. “We cannot tolerate such attacks on our women. We are here to fight for their right to move with all freedom,” said president of the Samiti Subash Chandra Shetty.

Samiti’s secretary Yatish Baikampady said the Samiti stood behind the two women and ensured that that accused is arrested. Mr. Yatish said soon after calls were made to him by supporters of the accused threatening him of attack if the accused was not released. “We cannot be cowed down by such threats. We will continue our fight against such offenders and groups involved in moral policing,” he said. The Samiti submitted a memorandum to police inspector Nagaraj asking him, among others, better patrolling in the night. They also asked people to call police station or Samiti members in case of they come to know about such attacks.

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