The student from Delhi who had attempted to expose a Café Coffee Day outlet’s cockroach-infested refrigerator earlier this month has been accused of sexual harassment by the woman employee seen slapping him in a video, which has since gone viral.
On March 12, Arpan Verma, a student of National Law University, had gone to the café’s Hawa Mahal branch in Jaipur when he spotted cockroaches inside the glass refrigerator. He then went up to the barista, purportedly to discuss the problem, and recorded the exchange. Another student from the university later shared the video on Twitter.
In the 18-second clip, the individual behind the camera can be heard accusing the coffee outlet of trying to conceal the filth in their refrigerator with their menu card. The woman behind the counter can be seen holding her mobile phone up, suggesting she was recording the incident as well. She is then seen marching up to the man recording the video and slapping him.
While Café Coffee Day later posted a clarification on their official Twitter handle, the matter took a different turn after the woman approached the police on March 27 and lodged a complaint against the videographer at the Manak Chowk Police Station in North Jaipur.
A senior police officer told Scroll.in that in her complaint, the woman has accused the customer of trying to take her photograph on the pretext of exposing the hangout. She also alleged that he had verbally abused her after she had refused to let him take her photograph, and that she had slapped him because he had misbehaved with her.
”We have registered a First Information Report under section 354 [”outraging the modesty of a woman”] and other relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code on the basis of the woman’s complaint,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Jaipur-North) Anshuman Bhomia told Scroll.in. “We have questioned both parties and are looking into the case from all possible angles. The other party in this case was physically assaulted, too, but he has not lodged any police complaint yet.”
After the video went viral on social media, an online protest under the hashtag #BoycottCCD was started, and hundreds had joined in by Wednesday. The Café Coffee Day branch has been closed since March 27, and an India Today report said the woman had been sacked.