GUWAHATI: A woman journalist from Assam was harassed and molested by a group of drunk men while travelling in a local train.

“I was dumbstruck…terrified…and ashamed. I somehow pulled myself up and considering my further safety, got down and shifted to a general compartment. I did not find any security personal in and around the train,” the journalist who freelances for newspapers in the state said.

She was travelling in the ladies compartment of Manas Rhino passenger train on June 22 which leaves Guwahati at 5:30 pm. She was going to Chirang district for an assignment.

Narrating the horrific incident the journalist said that to her shock, the other female co-passengers – three of them in the compartment at the time-- didn’t even raise a voice when she was being harassed by these miscreants.

“Just before Tihu, four men got in the compartment. They started making awful comments directed at the four ladies left in the compartment by then. I could sense that at least two of the men were in an inebriated condition. One of them was standing pretty close to my seat. I politely asked him to get down as it was a ladies compartment. He said he would get down at his destination at Tihu. After a few minutes that man came towards me and groped me tightly and started touching me inappropriately… Blank for a moment I jumped up and somehow freed myself from his clutches and slapped and punched him in defense,” the journalist said.

There was no presence of security personnel when the incident took place. Only after a few more stoppages, two security personnel came and assured her of a‘safe’ journey. She subsequently lodged an FIR at Government Railway Police Force (GRPF) at Bongaigaont.

“This incident has left me in utter shock. It reminds me that women are nowhere and never safe… not even inside a so called ladies compartment. Woman journalists like us have to travel alone to remote destinations to report stories…at times of violations. It is always us who have been asked to be safe… who have been told not to travel alone…not to do our job because of such molesters roaming freely everywhere. It makes one feel very helpless…very helpless!” she added.

Though the GRPF has said that the culprits will be booked, there are slim chances of that as there was no CCTV in that station where they got down.

The railway authorities also couldn’t give any clarification whey men were travelling in a ladies compartment.

A study ‘World of India’s Girls 2018’ by Save the Children which was released recently revealed some very disturbing facts. According to the study, 65 percent of adolescent girls in Assam do not feel safe travelling on public transport, while 51 percent find roads to their schools, local markets and private tuitions unsafe. 73 percent of adolescent girls listed lewd comments and eve teasing in public spaces as a security concern.