At least eleven persons were arrested on Saturday for beating up a woman and her two male friends allegedly at the behest of an autorickshaw driver who tried to molest her, police said on Saturday. The incident occurred on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday when the woman was traveling alone in an autorickshaw in the Kolsewadi area.
"Taking advantage, the autorickshaw driver tried to molest the woman passenger, who raised an alarm and called up her two friends for help. As soon as the two men from Ulhasnagar reached the spot, the autorickshaw driver called up some local villagers, who thrashed the woman and her friends despite their plea to spare them. They were beaten up with belts and other objects. The woman was also molested by some members of the mob," police said quoting the FIR.
A senior officer said eleven people were arrested and a search is on for others. The incident triggered outrage in various quarters after a video of the beating went viral on social media.
Kolsewadi police station inspector said that a case was registered against the attackers, including the autorickshaw driver, under sections 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), and 324 (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Amid the outrage, BJP leaders including MLA Ganpat Gaikwad alleged the law and order situation in the Thane district has deteriorated and crimes against women are on the rise.
An eye-witness claimed he shot the video of the incident and tweeted it to the police after which they swung into action.