Andhra official held for assaulting woman over wearing of mask (Ld)

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020, 05:50:59 PM IST

Amaravati, June 30 (IANS) After a public uproar, the Andhra Pradesh police on Tuesday arrested a government official since suspended from service, in charge of brutally assaulting a differently-abled woman colleague in office after she advised him to wear a face mask.

The incident occurred in the Tourism Department’s office in Nellore on June 27 but came to light on Tuesday after the shocking visuals recorded on CCTV surfaced on social media.

Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) announced the suspension of Deputy Manager C.A. Bhaskar who assaulted the woman colleague.

The Nellore police said the official was booked the same day under Indian Penal Code Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 355 (assault or criminal force with intent to dishonor person) and 324 (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means).

“The accused was arrested and is being sent in judicial remand. Nellore district police are extremely sensitive to any violation or crime against women. Women safety is our top priority,” it tweeted.

Director-General of Police Gautam Sawang praised the Nellore police for taking quick action.

“Crime against women is unacceptable. We condemn the Nellore incident and action has been taken against the accused for manhandling the lady official,” the police chief said.

The DGP said Disha police station would be taking up the further investigation in the case and directed it to ensure that the probe is completed within a week and a charge sheet filed.

The state government earlier this year launched 18 Disha police stations across the state for speedy investigation and trial of cases related to sexual offenses against women.

The CCTV footage of the crime went viral on social media and triggered public outrage. In the clip, the official is seen pulling the woman staffer by her hair, dragging her and repeatedly attacking her with a chair handle even as other employees in the office tried to intervene.

Another employee tries to control him but he pushes him to the ground. He then picks up the chair handle that gets detached in the melee and repeatedly attacks her as other employees watch in horror.

Unable to bear the assault, another woman present in the office can be seen rushing out. A man who walks in finally snatches the object from Bhaskar’s hands.

Police said the officer got angry and felt insulted after the woman colleague advised him to wear the face mask to contain the spread of Coronavirus.

Police said the accused’s samples were collected for COVID-19 test as per the protocol and he would be produced before a magistrate.