Aspiring Bollywood actress and model Purnima Behl took a courageous stand at a time when most other women in her place would have shriveled. Through her fearless act to defend herself, Purnima tried to break free of the misogynistic system that allows delinquents to harass and molest women. She was molested at Bandra Bandstand despite the spot being packed with people and she reacted by fighting back and hunting down the wrongdoers.
“You can surrender and Die… or you can get up and fight… That’s all… but there’s no turning back.”
– Purnima Behl
Purnima Behl (26) had gone to Bandstand in Mumbai for a jog on a Thursday night. After finishing her jog, at around 10:30 pm that night when she was approached by two men, Dinesh Yadav (27) and Amit Kumar while she was resting on the benches and conversing on her mobile phone with family. The two identified men Dinesh Yadav and Amit Kumar hail from Haryana and are boxers. It should be noted that at the time of the incident, Bandstand was full of people and the two accused men began to harass her in front of several people. Purnima told in her account that one of the guys asked her name and enquired why she was sitting alone. In response, Purnima confronted the men, they responded by misbehaving and hurling obscene remarks about her. However, Purnima continued to stand her ground after an exchange of angry words, the men shamelessly attacked her physically. At this point, she dialed the police helpline number.
However, the two men did not stop physically and verbally harassing Purnima. According to her, one of the accused – Amit Kumar stated, “Do whatever you want. We are not afraid.” Valiantly Purnima continued to defend herself and after feeling threatened by her strength, the molesters decided to make a quick getaway by running and leaving the scene in an auto rickshaw. Rather than yielding to what had happened as most women in her place would have, feisty Behl decided to hunt down the wrongdoers, by chasing after them in another auto rickshaw and asking for the police to help at Nakabandi. Yadav and Kumar were apprehended and taken to the police station, where Kumar, on the pretext of going to the toilet, slipped away.
Yadav and Kumar have been booked under IPC sections 34 (common intention) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman). There is an ongoing search for Kumar. Yadav was released on bail.
In her statement Purnima said that the incident has made her stronger but at the same time she feels threatened about her life and safety, suspecting the two may be part of a major racket to target women and needs police protection. It is her believe that the safety of the women should be the highest law and women, should empower themselves to fight back and every man needs to be aware of ‘how to treat a woman’.
About Purnima Bhel:
Purnima Bhel moved from her hometown in Jammu to Mumbai two years back to try her luck in Bollywood. She began modeling at the age of 20 and has worked in Kuwait and Dubai. She won the North India Teen Queen title and has worked in music videos and an ad film made for the Uttar Pradesh government.