Man Accused of Molesting Zaira Wasim on Flight Arrested in Mumbai

Mumbai Police, on Monday, 11 December, arrested the man accused of molesting actor Zaira Wasim in a Mumbai-bound Air Vistara flight.

The man has been identified as Vikash Sachdev. Deputy Commissioner of Police Anil Kumbhare said he will be produced in the court on Monday.

Sachdev has been booked under section 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of IPC, and relevant sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) since the actor is a minor, Senior Police Inspector, Sahar, Lata Shirsat, said.

In a live Instagram post, the teenage actor from Dangal and Secret Superstar, broke down and accused the man seated behind her on the flight of rubbing his foot against her back and neck while she was half-asleep.

Zaira WasimSo, I just landed and you know the whole irony of this is that the guy... this is not done at all. This is not the way, this is not a girl should be made to feel because this is terrible. Is this how they are doing to take care of girls? No one will help us if we don’t decide to help ourselves. This is the worst thing.

Zaira also added that she tried to click a photo of the man, but couldn't get a clear shot due to the dim lights.

Zaira WasimManaged to get this (shot of the molester’s foot). The lights were dimmed so it was even worse. It continued for another 5-10 minutes and then I was sure of it. He kept nudging my shoulder and continued to move his foot up and down my back and neck. 

In a series of statements, Air Vistara which is a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, said regretted the "unfortunate experience" and apologised to Wasim.

According to Vistara, the actor had not brought the incident to the notice of the crew member’s until the descent of the flight. After landing, the crew inquired about the incident and asked Zaira and her mother if they want to file a complaint but they denied.

All cabin crew have been summoned for inquiry in the incident, the Airlines said, adding that Zaira Wasim raised an alarm and yelled at the man when the crew members were seated, as is mandatory during the descent of a flight.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women took cognizance of the incident tweeted saying that will be involving the Maharashtra DGP in the case. Commenting on the incident, NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma said:

I just saw the video on Instagram and my heart goes out to her. I am really horrified the way this incident happened and after that the crew didn’t help this girl. That was very shocking because Vistara claims that it has zero tolerance. Vistara hasn’t sensitised their crew to take action against men torturing women on flight. I am taking suo moto cognisance of this and giving notice to Vistara. Also a copy to DGP Maharashtra to act against Vistara Airlines.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said she was "appalled" by the incident and demanded swift action against the culprit.

Former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also demanded action against the passenger.

(This story has been updated to reflect the arrest of the accused)

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