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13 arrested for sexual harassment on public transport in a week

KATHMANDU:  Plainclothes cops deployed for sting operation arrested Nawaraj Joshi on the charge of sexually harassing a teenager girl on a public transport.

The 28-year-old of Surkhet had groped the 18-year-old passenger in a bus en route to Ratna Park from Thankot on Friday.

Metropolitan Police Office, in association with community service centres and transport entrepreneurs, had on launched the sting operation to discourage sexual harassment on public transport from August 2. The operation has been named ‘Safety Pin Campaign’.

According to MPO, as many as 13 suspects aged between 18 and 30 years were arrested in one week of the operation. Of them, five are facing social crime charges while two have been sent to jail. Rest of the suspects were released on a general date.

A three-member team, also comprising a woman cop or a member of general public in civvies, conduct deceptive operation designed to catch persons making unwanted sexual advances towards female passengers on public transport, mainly the buses.

Backed by a special mobile van, police use a woman as a commuter in a public bus. Anyone found sexually harassing female passengers is arrested outright for legal action under the existing laws, MPO said.

The sting operation teams are mobilised in busy thoroughfares, including bus parks, of Kathmandu Valley to catch the perpetrators. It is the first operation of this kind to curb sexual harassment in public buses.

Many women and teenagers using public transport often face different forms of sexual harassment, but most cases go unreported. Public vehicles in the Valley are usually overcrowded, providing the molesters with ample opportunities to sexually harass women.

Tens of thousands of people use public vehicles daily in the Valley. Existing laws define sexual assault as any form of sexual contact or activity like touching, tapping and showing sexually explicit pictures or movies without one’s consent.

–  HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

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