Time and again Delhi-NCR proves just how unsafe it is for women. The most recent and horrifying instance of crime against women in the region came from Gurgaon, where a woman toll collector was allegedly assaulted by an unidentified driver at the Kherki Daula toll plaza on December 7 after the latter was denied free passage.
This is the second incident of its kind to take place at this toll booth in the last couple of months. The first was reported on November 21, when a few men in an SUV molested a staffer after she asked them to pay the toll.
Female toll tax collector allegedly assaulted by commuter, disgruntled at being denied free passage, at Kherki Daula toll plaza on Thursday morning. Probe underway. @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/nZ0tKrYddK— Sakshi Dayal (@sakshi_dayal) December 7, 2017
According to a Hindustan Times report, these two back-to-back incidents of abuse and molestation of women toll attendants have left the 35-member strong women workforce shaken.
Horrifying CCTV footage of the latest incident makes for an unsurprising testament to the raging entitlement of the men in this region. According to the police, the incident occurred around 11am, when the woman toll attendant, employed by Gurgaon's Skylark group, stopped a man who was trying to pass the barricade without paying toll tax. Enraged, the man abused and thrashed the employee. "He said he was a local and asked me to let him pass for free. I asked him to show the documents but he started slapping and abusing me. He even threatened to kill me," said the employee.
While the other employees of the toll booth interfered and stopped him, the unidentified man claimed nobody would be able to do any harm to him — a response that betrays utter disregard for law and order and has become shamefully common in the NCR.
Speaking to Republic World, Kripal Singh, the PRO of Kherki Daula toll plaza, said: "He used absurd language and started beating her through the window. Other employees came there and tried to save her. He was openly saying that nobody can harm him or do anything against him."
Haryana, a state that suffers from more-than-frequent bouts of lawlessness and has had a dismal record when it comes to women's safety, is a challenge for women who seek employment. Speaking to HT, one of the woman staffers who complained to the police said that men frequently tease them and use innuendoes and shameful expressions, but they have learned to ignore these as “part of the job”.
“I am shaken and scared to work and so are the other women. The man threatened to kill me. He also used slurs and insults that would outrage the modesty of any person. I want the police to take strict action against such people,” added the toll operator.
But not just abuse and assault, this particular toll booth has witnessed far scarier forms of violence. In October, a man in an SUV allegedly opened fire at employees around 2am when tax collectors waved down a black Scorpio passing through a lane.
While the vehicle had a tag indicating that its owner was a local resident, and was exempted from paying tax, the toll machinery did not automatically register the sticker. When the employees tried to assess the situation, the four men inside the vehicle became aggressive. Despite requests from the toll plaza employees to wait, the men drove past the toll.
When an attempt was made to stop the car, one of the men opened fire. However, the workers ducked and managed to escape without injuries.