Zaira Wasim, the 17-year-old National Award winner, was allegedly molested on a Delhi to Mumbai Air Vistara flight, by a 39-year-old man.
Our hearts swelled in pride when we saw her portraying strong, inspiring characters on screen. Her personal life too has been tumultuous, yet she has braved through it all. But the same person broke down into tears during her Live session on Instagram while narrating the incident. This tells us how shocked and disgusted one must feel after being molested.
During her live session she said, “This is not done, I am disturbed… Is this how you’re going to take care of girls? This is not the way anybody should be made to feel. This is terrible!” “No one will help us if we don’t decide to help ourselves. And this is the worst thing,” she added. Hours after the Instagram Live Session, Air Vistara apologized for the ordeal she went through and said they have zero tolerance for such behavior. They also said that they are investigating into the matter and have started talking to crew members and fellow passengers so as to understand the situation and what happened better.
The person accused of molesting the actress has been arrested by Mumbai’s Sahar Police and has been sent to police custody till December 13. In a trial that took place on 11th of December, the Police demanded a 14 day-custody of the accused saying that it needed to investigate the characteristic background of the accused, check if he is a repeat offender and verify his basic credentials. Meanwhile, the accused has defended himself by saying that he was sleeping, and thus had no intention of molesting the actress. His wife too denied the allegation and defended her husband by saying that he had kept his foot on the armrest but he didn’t intend to harass Zaira. Also, the accused has alleged that he was raided and arrested from his residence without any notice, and that he should have been given notice to join the investigation.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said that the accused passenger would be put on the no-fly list if the allegations were found to be true. Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti too has spoken in support of Zaira.
People from across the country have shown their support to Zaira, including her fellow Bollywood stars like Kareena Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Bhoomi Pednekar, Taapsee Pannu and television star Mouni Roy. “I am appalled. She is a child. There is a problem in our culture where people think, especially if you are an actor, that you are their property. This is hugely problematic. But I am very happy that she put it out on social media. I am glad she took that step because it needs a lot of courage to speak, to come out and take a stand like that. More power to her,” Pednekar said. When asked for his opinion on the incident, actor Sushant Singh Rajput said, “We talk a lot (but) I think at the right place and in the right time, we need to take action also. We are intelligent and responsible enough as a country to see to it that these things don’t happen.”
Things have taken a whole new turn recently, after one of the co-passengers of the actor and the accused, claimed to be witness in support of Mr. Sachdev. Interestingly she also shared news about how Zaira screamed at the accused right after they landed in Mumbai and after Sachdev’s apologies, the matter was settled. The co-passenger also stated that Mr. Vikas Sachdev had fallen asleep almost right after the flight took off and the only mistake he made was to keep his leg on her armrest.
Zaira Wasim, the 17 year old actor was also trolled on various social media sites for raising unfair allegations as people commented on the likes of “why didn’t she raise a hue and cry while on-board” or compared her instagram posts to simply a publicity stunt. We on the other hand can only wait for the police to probe deeper on the matter and hope the actual guilty person gets punished.