Young Bollywood actress claims 'molested' on flight by another passenger's foot (VIDEO)
A popular Indian actress has claimed she was molested by a passenger seated behind her on a plane, with the man having allegedly rubbed her back and neck with his foot. While the man has reportedly been arrested, some accused Zaira Wasim of a "publicity stunt."
The online community in India appears to be divided by the in-flight incident involving the 17-year-old actress who was traveling from Delhi to Mumbai over the weekend. Having shared an image of a man's bare foot on an armrest next to her, Wasim said the passenger in question "kept nudging my shoulder and continued to move his foot up and down my back and neck." "The lights were dimmed so it was even worse," she added.
In a live story video posted on Instagram on arrival at the airport in Mumbai, the tearful actress referred to the encounter as a "terrible" incident. "No one will help us if we don't decide to help ourselves. This is the worst thing," she said. She further accused the airline crew of failing to help her.
India's minister for civil aviation Jayant Sinha got involved, according to the Economic Times in India. Having condemned the incident, the minister said the girl should cooperate with authorities and the airline on the issue, so "they could put the passenger on no-fly list if found guilty." Several national commissions for women's rights have demanded a detailed report from the airline, which says it’s investigating the incident.
We @airvistara have seen the reports regarding @ZairaWasimmm experience with another customer on board last night. We are carrying out detailed investigation and will support Zaira in every way required. We have zero tolerance for such behaviour.— Vistara (@airvistara) December 10, 2017
The company said senior management have been sent to meet with the actress, adding that the crew apparently "only became aware of something amiss during final descent when they were seated for landing." All necessary details had been submitted to police, a company statement added.
The suspect, said to be a 39-year old businessman, has been arrested, local media reported citing police. A case involving a breach of the "protection of children from sexual offenses" act, as well as a penal code dealing with "assault with intention to outrage a woman’s modesty" has been reportedly launched against him.
So #ZairaWasim alleged-molestation case is just a Plane-Ride-Etiquettes issue (and that too accidental)? As more details tumbles out, this is turning to be yet another fake-outrage. Poor #Vikas was returning 4m uncle's funeral, was tired & trying to get sleep ...What a #Shame😐 pic.twitter.com/slVZVQH4w2— #Intolerant भारतीय (@goyalsanjeev) December 11, 2017
The man reportedly apologized to the actress while on the plane, and claimed the whole incident was completely unintentional. The man and his wife, who later spoke to local media, explained he was in a deep sleep, returning from a funeral of a family member.
My husband is innocent, had no intention to molest. There was a young death in family,which is where he went , hadn't slept for 24 hours. He asked crew to not disturb & wanted to sleep. His foot was on arm rest but not with intention to harass: Wife of accused in #ZairaWasim case pic.twitter.com/UA7WokkJfe— ANI (@ANI) December 11, 2017
While many took to social media to express their support to the award-winning actress, others have accused her of seeking media attention. Some Twitter users asked how a toe can be viewed to be an instrument of sexual harassment, and questioned her decision to report the incident live on Instagram.
While we want Juveniles to be tried as Adults, #ZairaWasim (17+) is a Kid? She doesn't- Complain to Cabin Crew or Ground Staff,Confront offender,Request to change her seat & instead goes LIVE @instagram when molested?She's wise enough to Refuse to stand up for #NationalAnthem😉— Jagrati Shukla (@JagratiShukla29) December 10, 2017
Others went after the "victim-shaming" commentators.
extremely shocking what happened with #ZairaWasim but what really shocked me is the reaction to this!!!! she is a little girl who needs support.. if you cannot stand up for this then please dont say anything at all— Rozina (@Rozinxhxniff) December 10, 2017
What's really disturbing about the #ZairaWasim incident is people questioning why she didn't speak out as it occurred. If you know anything about sexual abuse, you should know it takes people years to talk about it, atleast she only took a few hours, some even stay silent forever— Priya Sometimes (@PriyaSometimes) December 11, 2017