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Miss Universe India harassed by hooligans after she stands up for taxi driver during attack

Miss Universe India harassed by hooligans after she stands up for taxi driver during attack
Police in the Indian city of Kolkata have arrested seven men after a Facebook post by former Miss Universe India and actress Ushoshi Sengupta about being assaulted by a rowdy gang in her home town went viral.

Sengupta, who shot to fame after winning the 'I Am She – Miss Universe' beauty pageant in India and qualifying for arguably the most prestigious beauty competition in the world – Miss Universe – in 2010, found herself thrust into the media spotlight again, this time as the victim of a vicious attack by a gang of young men.

In a lengthy Facebook post on Tuesday, Sengupta, who also dabbles in acting, wrote that the incident started as an altercation between the taxi driver and a group of 15 "boys" on bikes who approached the vehicle as it was about to make a turn.

The men banged on the door, dragged the driver out and began pounding on him. Sengupta stepped out of the car and started shouting and filming on her cell phone. She then ran across the street to the nearest police station. However, according to her, her plea for help fell on deaf ears, with officers telling her that the area where the assault was taking place is in the jurisdiction of another police station.

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"This is when I broke down I begged them to come or else the boys would have killed the driver," Sengupta wrote, adding that when the officers eventually agreed to come with her, they were pushed back by the gang members who fled before the officers from the station actually responsible for that area arrived.

Thinking that the ordeal was over, Sengupta, who was taking the ride with a colleague, asked to drop him off first and then drive her home. However, a group of six of the 'boys' followed the car and attacked it as soon as the driver pulled over to drop off the man. They hurled stones at the car, smashing the windshield. After that, they dragged the former beauty queen out and tried to wrestle her phone away to delete the incriminating video.

READ MORE: Miss India winner finally chosen after pageant dogged by diversity criticism

"My colleague jumped out of fear and I was completely shaken. I came out started shouting by now the locals had come out," she wrote, adding that she called her family.
After the attackers scattered, Sengupta went to nearest police station, but was turned down again and told to file a complaint at another station. Eventually, the officers agreed to process her complaint but refused to take the complaint from the taxi driver.

"If you are getting mobbed, violated, molested or even killed please be assured about the jurisdiction of the police station before running to them. Because even if it is 100 meter[s] away from your spot and not under the jurisdiction chances are very rare they will come and help," she wrote, accusing the police of an extremely hands-off approach to handling their duties.

The original post has been shared over 12,000 times on Facebook, sparking outrage in the community. The comment section has been flooded with indignant messages, blasting the police for their poor response.

"Shame on everyone around watching and not doing anything about it and bigger shame on Police services... they proved them self again that how looser, lazy, corrupt and irritating they are," one person wrote.

"I have no words! Shocking and disgraceful! What is happening to this city? Where are we heading to? What is more disheartening is to see the role of police," another said.

Shortly after the outcry erupted, seven perpetrators were identified and arrested thanks to the video attached by Sengupta. Police said that they had also launched an inquiry into why the officers did not let the taxi driver file a complaint. In subsequent social media posts, Sengupta accused the media of twisting her words and saying that she personally was not molested, as reported by some outlets, and urged the media against "sensationalizing the news."

"MOLESTATION IS A DIFFERENT CRIME THIS IS ABOUT HARRASSMENT AND SECURITY," she wrote. 

Kolkata is considered one of India's safest cities. In the 2016 National Crime Records Bureau report, it was ranked the 17th safest city for women, recording only four percent of all crimes against women among 19 major Indian cities. 

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