Dangal actress Zaira Wasim was on Sunday allegedly molested on a Delhi-Mumbai flight by a man who was sitting behind her. The 17-year-old actress described her ordeal in an Instagram post, saying that the man was rubbing his foot against her back and caressing her neck while she was asleep.
The 17-year-old National Award winner shared her ordeal via an Instagram Story.
"Managed to get this," Zaira posted with a snapshot of the man's foot, which was rested on her arm rest.
The star of "Secret Superstar" then added: "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.
View this post on Instagram
Somebody misbehaved with her in the flight 😤 Strict actions must be taken on this incident 😡 OMG she is Crying 😢 We are with you @zairawasim_ .#share . . . . . . . #repost #flightattendant #misbehaving #terrible #actions #kashmir #india #indian #fools #live #zaira #zairawasim #bolllywood #video #viral #follow4follow #like4like #airport #fans
"So, I was in a flight travelling from Delhi to Mumbai today and right behind me one middle-aged man who made my two-hour journey miserable. I tried to record it on phone to understand it better because the cabin lights were dimmed, I failed to get it.
"It was all chill till I felt somebody brushing against my back while I was half asleep. I ignored it the first time. Blamed the turbulence for it. Until I woke me up to this pleasant sight of his beautiful foot rubbing my back and neck.
"Guess he couldn't sit like a civilised human being and placed his foot on my armrest while he's fully 'phelaoed' (spread) his body on his seat."
She ended her post with: "Slow claps for Vistara's wonderful crew guys."
In a self-shot video doing the rounds on social media, Zaira, who is from Jammu and Kashmir, is also seen breaking down on an Instagram live chat.
"I just landed, the whole irony of this that I yelled... and this is not done... this is not how you should be treated or made to feela this is terrible. This is how they will take care of girls? No one will help us if we don't decide to help ourselves and that is the worst thing," she said, looking visibly disturbed.
Responding to the incident, sources in the airline said that Zaira did not bring the incident to the crew's notice, adding that when the crew members asked Zaira and her mother to file a complaint, they denied to do so.
"Zaira Wasim had not brought the incident to notice of the crew till the flight commenced descent. After landing the crew inquired about the incident and asked Zaira and her mother if they want to file a complaint but they denied," sources in Visatara Airline told ANI.
"The airline is yet to contact the accused male passenger. All cabin crew have been summoned for inquiry in the incident. Zaira Wasim yelled at the accused passenger only during the descent of the flight. The cabin crew were all seated in their seats because it’s mandatory to have no movement during descent," they added.
The airline provided the details of the incident to the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Director General of Civil Aviation. Meanwhile, the police recorded the statement of the 17-year-old actress.
A police officer arrived at the hotel in Mumbai where #ZairaWasim is staying to take her statement over her allegations of molestation attempt on a Delhi-Mumbai Vistara flight. pic.twitter.com/KAHH056w8a— ANI (@ANI) December 10, 2017
“We are aware of the incident reported by Ms. Zaira Wasim on board our flight UK981 last night from Delhi to Mumbai. We are carrying out a detailed investigation of the incident which apparently involved a male passenger on the flight. We are talking to our crew who were serving Ms. Wasim to understand the incident at greater length, and reaching out to fellow passengers as well. We will support Ms. Wasim in every way required and also if she decides to report the matter to the police. It appears crew only became aware of something amiss during final descent when they were seated for landing. Further details will come from the investigation which is currently ongoing in full force.We apologize for what she experienced and we have zero tolerance for such behaviour," said Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Vistara.
Earlier, Air Vistara said that it will support Zaira in every possible way, adding that a detailed investigation is being carried out in connection with the incident.
“We @airvistara have seen the reports regarding @ZairaWasimmm experience with another customer on board last night. We are carrying out detailed investigation and will support Zaira in every way required. We have zero tolerance for such behaviour,” the airline tweeted.
We @airvistara have seen the reports regarding @ZairaWasimmm experience with another customer on board last night. We are carrying out detailed investigation and will support Zaira in every way required. We have zero tolerance for such behaviour.— Vistara (@airvistara) December 10, 2017
Condemning the incident, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that she was appalled by the incident. "Any harassment/crime against women shld (should) be dealt with swiftly & (and) effectively.As a mother of 2 (two) daughters I am appalled at what happened with @zairawasimz. Hope relevant authorities take strict action," she tweeted.
Women commissions urge Zaira Wasim to file police complaint
The National Commission for Women (NCW) as well as the Delhi and Maharashtra commisions for women have urged Zaira to file a police complaint.
Rekha Sharma, chairperson of National Commission for Women, also condemned the alleged incident, saying that she is taking a suo moto cognizance of the incident, and is issuing a notice to the airline.
"I just saw the video on Instagram & my heart goes out to her. I am really horrified the way this incident happened & after that the crew didn't help this girl. That was very shocking because Vistara claims that it has zero tolerance," she said.
"Vistara hasn't sensitized their crew to take action against men torturing women on flight. I am taking suo moto cognizance of this & giving notice to Vistara. Also a copy to DGP Maharashtra to act against Vistara Airlines," she added.
Swati Maliwal of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) urged the "Dangal" actress to lodge a police complaint.
"Highly condemnable. Urge Zaira Wasim to file police complaint. Accused should be arrested. Since flight was from Delhi to Mumbai, the DCW is issuing notice to Vistara Airlines seeking details of man, action taken by airlines and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) followed in such matters. Now even flights are unsafe for girls," Maliwal tweeted.
Maharashtra State Commission for Women (MSCW) Chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar condemned it as a "shameful incident".
"MSCW will direct DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) to conduct inquiry in the matter. We will inquire into the steps taken by Vistara to address the complaint. There should be inquiry about why the cabin crew did not help her. We have directed the Mumbai Police to look into the matter immediately.
"It is sad that none of the co-passengers came ahead to help Zaira. We are with her, and will ensure she gets justice."