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‘Swabhimaan ki ladai’: Food delivery executive’s fight in court after ‘slap’ by Army Major

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With no action on his police complaint, a food delivery executive who was allegedly assaulted by an Army Major at a Gurgaon society last year took the battle to court — and has now managed to get an FIR registered.

On Wednesday, police booked the accused for allegedly assaulting 27-year-old Sonu at Bestech Park View Ananda society on September 9 last year, after the district court directed the SHO of Kherki Daula police station to do so. The complainant filed an application in court in June 2022.

Both men have a different version of how the events unfolded. Sonu, who hails from Rajasthan, said he had gone to deliver food at the society in sector 81, and on entering the premises around 9.45 pm, was asked by the security guard to use the service lift.

“As I entered a lift, the security guard yelled that it was meant for residents and asked me to use the other one. Hearing the commotion, a resident from the ground floor intervened and asked what had happened. He said he was a Major in the Army. He asked how I had dared to use the other lift and called me a ‘gavaar’ (illiterate). He said, ‘pata nahi kaunse gaon se aa jaate hai (Don’t know which village such people come from)’. He suddenly slapped and punched me and threatened to put me in jail. I was confined there for 45 minutes,” Sonu alleged.

He said that after police arrived, he was taken to the station, where he lodged a complaint. He said he was referred to a hospital in Delhi, where he got a medical check-up done, having suffered an ear injury. “Swabhimaan ki ladai thi (It was a fight for self respect). I filed a complaint with the police the same night, but they did not register an FIR. I approached senior officers, but after no action was taken, I decided to take legal recourse,” Sonu, who uses only his first name, told The Indian Express.

A graduate from a private university in Rajasthan, Sonu said he had taken up work as a food delivery executive during the pandemic. “Uss samay halat kuch aisi thi… majboori thi (Circumstances were such that I was desperate for work). They were paying between Rs 20,000-30,000, so I took the job in July 2021,” he said.

After the incident, he said he quit the job. “Kaam koi chota bada nahi hota (no work is big or small). But these high society people do not understand this. I quit the job that day, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It is about dignity and respect… I told him I will see him in court,” he said, adding that he has now returned to his home town and works at his family’s cotton farm.

On September 15, 2022, the chief judicial magistrate said in an order: “This court is of the considered view that it is a fit case for registration of FIR, in compliance of Section 156(3) CrPC. The contents of the complaint discloses commission of cognizable offence by the accused, for which… FIR under sections 323, 341 and 506 of IPC should be registered…”

An officer said the Armyman is not mentioned by name in the FIR. When contacted, he said the allegations against him were false. “I found out later that the complainant is not a delivery person, the guard told me he made an unauthorised illegal entry using a fake card. He was asked by the tower guard to enter his details in the register and to follow Covid protocols. The guard said he refused to put on the mask and forcibly intruded into the lift. He started shouting and punched the guard on his chest due to which he fell on the floor. I went to check as there was a lot of noise. When I was trying to calm him down, he pushed the guard again and moved his arm towards me to scratch mine. I got a deep cut on my arm and it was bleeding. I have attached medical report… police took stock of the situation.”

He said that he, too, had filed a complaint with police but they didn’t register an FIR “because I haven’t approached any lawyer”. He claimed this was a bid to defame him and extract money.

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