Trekkers celebrating new year’s forced to strip, thrashed in Lonavala
Pune police on Wednesday arrested nine people, including three women, for allegedly harassing and assaulting a group of trekkers at Visapur fort in Lonavala on New Year’s Eve.
The trekkers, who had came to celebrate New Year at Visapur Fort, had registered through a website for the camp at Lonavala.
According to the police complaint, registered by one of the female trekkers from Pune, around 10 to 12 men and women allegedly roughed them up with sticks and belts. She claimed to have suffered a hand fracture in the incident.
The complainant also alleged that the miscreants, claiming to be members of a ‘fort lovers’ group, humiliated the male trekkers by forcing them to strip and abused the women.
“I along with my husband and other fellow couples had booked a camp, which was organised at Visapur Fort, through a website. We reached the spot at around 1 PM on December 31 and found that there were around 25 more couples, who too had come on New Year’s eve through the same organisers,” she said in her complaint.
“At around 9.30 PM, we were sitting around a campfire when 10 to 12 persons came and accused us of littering the place. One of the women came near me and snatched a glass of cold drink. She thrashed me with a stick and kicked me and accused us of littering the fort,” she alleged.
Later, the other accused forced male trekkers to strip and thrashed them with sticks and belts, and hurled abuses at the women, the victim told police in her statement.
She said the accused also manhandled the event organiser and warned all of them not to come back to the fort.
“The people who had attacked us even called our families and told them that we were indulging in obscene act by consuming liquor,” the woman told news agency PTI.
According to one report, the accused also raised slogans in the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and forced them to speak in Marathi.
The victims, after a five hour long ordeal, finally managed to leave the place with the help of locals and later reported the matter to police.
“We have registered a case of rioting against 10 to 12 people, including women, belonging to a ‘fort lovers’ group and investigation is on,” Assistant Police Inspector at Lonavala Rural Police Station Sandip Yede-Patil said following the incident.
The 9 suspects, who were later identified and arrested on Wednesday, have been booked for rioting and molestation, among other charges. They are currently in police custody.