Bahraini diplomat faces molestation charge

Consul-General based in Mumbai booked for verbally abusing and inappropriately touching female manager.

There is more awareness and anger about sexual harassment and sexual assault because of high profile cases [EPA]
There is more awareness and anger about sexual harassment and sexual assault because of high profile cases [EPA]

A Bahraini diplomat is alleged to have verbally abused and inappropriately touched a female manager who works in a Mumbai apartment block.

A case has been filed against the Bahraini Consul-General in India, Mohammed Abdulaziz Al Khaja, for an incident said to have taken place earlier this month.

A 49-year-old woman complained that on December 9, Al Khaja ransacked her office, touched her inappropriately and yelled at her because of a lift that was under repair.

The Mumbai police have registered a case after an initial investigation, but have not arrested Al Khaja because he enjoys diplomatic immunity, reports said on Thursday.

Since the lift continued to be under repair, Al Khaja again kicked up a fuss a few days later, said reports quoting the police.

Sexual overtones

The woman has lived in the apartment for a decade while the Bahraini diplomat has been a resident there for the last five years.

The police have registered a case against Al Khaja under sections 354 (molestation), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) of the Indian Penal Code.

Upset with Al Khaja’s behaviour, the managing committee of the housing society that runs the apartment on Thursday resolved to write to the state government to evict him from the premises, reports said.

The committee has provided police security to the woman and private security guards have been stationed at her office, the reports said.

Al Khaja’s apartment is owned by the government of western Maharashtra state and leased to the Bahrain Consulate.

The woman was quoted by the Indian Express newspaper as saying that Al Khaja was the first diplomat who had created a ruckus there.

“Consul Generals of South Africa and Canada have lived here peacefully in the past. The last two Consul Generals of Bahrain, who lived here before Al Khaja, were nice people,” said the report, quoting her.

The woman also reportedly said she was unable to sleep since the attack feared seeing Al Khaja or passing him by. 

This is the latest in a slew of high-profile sexual assault and harassment cases that have rocked India in recent weeks.

Senior journalist Tarun Tejpal is in jail on charges of sexual assault, former judge of the Supreme Court AK Ganguly has been indicted by a committee of the top court for sexual misbehaviour while in a more recent case a professor at the renowned Indian Institute of Technology was suspended on charges of sexual harassment.

Source : Al Jazeera

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