16-year-old girl molested on board a cluster bus

A 16-year-old girl alleged that she was molested on board a cluster bus, while she was travelling from Khayala to Lajpat Nagar in the night on Sunday. The girl, who was crying, was spotted by police personnel at Mandi House picket at 10.30 pm. She told police that a passenger, who later was found to be an off-duty conductor, was misbehaving with her.

Rajbir, the off-duty conductor, has been arrested. The bus (Route 410 from Khayala to Jal Vihar depot) was plying under the cluster service, a government initiative in partnership with a private firm.

The incident comes a day after the death of the 23-year-old paramedic student, who was tortured and gangraped by six men on a moving chartered bus on December 16.

Officials said the services of the bus driver, Prehlad Singh, and on-duty conductor, Tejveer, have been terminated for not taking action against Rajbir, a resident of Jhajjar in Haryana, when he was misbehaving with the girl.

Police said the girl was the only passenger on the bus at the time. In her statement to police, the girl said she got on the bus in Khayala and was headed to Women's Center in Lajpat Nagar. She said there were 12 passengers on board when she got on the bus.

"All of them got off the bus one-by-one, the last person on Shankar Road. I was the only passenger apart from the driver, an on-duty conductor and another conductor who was drinking alcohol on the bus. The moment the last passenger got down, this conductor came and sat beside me," she told police.

Her statement said Rajbir asked her to marry him. "I told him I cannot marry him and... I do not want to talk to him. He then touched my thigh and started to misbehave," the statement read.

She told police that though she was crying and asked the man to move away, Rajbir continued harassing her.

Police personnel spotted the girl when the driver stopped the bus at the Mandi House picket to ask for directions. An eyewitness, who was present at the picket, said the driver did not seek police help to check Rajbir.

"The driver stopped to ask for directions and personnel on duty spotted the girl crying. The driver did not care to report the matter to police. He just asked for directions and was ready to leave, when a policeman ran up to him and instructed him to stop," Ashima Kaul, an eyewitness, said.

"The girl told me that she was sexually abused by her brothers, and her stepmother used to mistreat. She said she was going to an ashram. She was crying and kept saying that she did not want to go back home," Kaul said.

A case of molestation, criminal intimidation and outraging a woman's modesty had been registered against Rajbir, who is in judicial custody till January 11.

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