The accused's wife has also come out in support of alleged perpetrator Vikas Sachdev.
Zaira Wasim’s alleged molester says his foot touched unintentionally and he apologised
Mumbai - 11 Dec 2017 11:43 IST
Updated : 11:44 IST
After actress Zaira Wasim filed a complaint against her co-passenger for allegedly molesting her, the accused, Vikas Sachdev was arrested by the Mumbai police yesterday.
The National Award-winning Kashmiri actress complained about her ordeal on the flight on Saturday, claiming that a middle-aged man seated behind her moved his foot up and down her neck and back.
A case has been filed under section 354 and POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses) since Wasim is a minor.
Meanwhile, the accused has also spoken on the issue and pleaded innocence. While talking to India Today, he said that his leg accidentally touched Wasim and he also apologized for it. “Once my leg touched Zaira's shoulder, it was completely unintentional and I even apologised to her.,” he said.
He said that he was returning from Delhi after attending a funeral of his uncle. “I was very tired as I had not slept for very long time. I had asked for a blanket after which I slept during the entire journey. I did not even take the meal,” he added.
His wife Divya Sachdev, too, has supported Vikas. She said, “My husband was coming home from Delhi. His mamaji (maternal uncle) had passed away and he was not in the right frame of mind. He was feeling very low and asked for a blanket. He wanted to sleep. I am shocked at Zaira's allegation. The police have taken my husband into custody.”
The incident has drawn wide condemnation in the nation. Even chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti is furious over the incident. She tweeted, “Any harassment or crime against women should be dealt with swiftly and effectively. As a mother of two daughters, I am appalled at what happened with Zaira.”
Any harassment/crime against women shld be dealt with swiftly & effectively. As a mother of 2 daughters I am appalled at what happened with @zairawasimz. Hope the relevant authorities take strict action @airvistara @Ashok_Gajapathi @jayantsinha— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) December 10, 2017
The civil aviation ministry has sought a report on the incident while the National Commission for Women (NCW), as well as the Delhi and Maharashtra commisions for women urged the actress to approach police.
Filmmaker Onir has come down heavily on Vistara Airlines and the passengers. “Shame Vistara that your staff did nothing. Shame on all the passengers, they are equally guilty as this moron. It should not be difficult for airlines to locate him from seat no. He should be arrested and punished,” he wrote on his Twitter page.
#SHAME #Vistara that your staff did nothing, Shame on all the passengers , they are equally guilty as this moron. It should not be difficult for airlines to locate him from seat no. HE SHOULD BE ARRESTED and PUNISHED. #ZairaWasim— Onir (@IamOnir) December 10, 2017
Actress Swara Bhaskar, too, expressed her displeasure at the incident and applauded Wasim for speaking up. “We are now at that point where a 17-year-old child has to remind us what is right and what is wrong. I'm so sorry that adults around you let you down, Zaira Wasim. But you keep up the good fight. Stay strong,” she wrote on Twitter.
Absolutely shameful and intolerable. We are now at that point where a 17 year old child has to remind us what is right and what is wrong. Im so sorry that adults around u let u down #ZairaWasim But u keep up the good fight. SO many ppl with u! #StayStrong https://t.co/w6zFI6Rj4J— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) December 10, 2017
Wasim has acted in Dangal (2016), which portrayed the story of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters. She played the younger version of Geeta Phogat. Mahavir's real-life daughter Babita Phogat also shared her strong views over the incident.
She tweeted a video where she said, “If someone is misbehaving with you, give a tight slap on their face. They will never dare to repeat their actions again. Zaira, you don't need to be afraid of anyone and just be 'dhaakad' (bold) in real life as well.”