“It was pure madness,” Thakur, 24, recounted later, of the events of March 23 when a group of more than 2,000 people had gathered to protest against sexual harassment. “There was a policeman in the crowd who was in such a frenzy beating up kids that he had taken his own shirt off. … His eyes were blazing red. I couldn’t smell any alcohol on him but I think he was just high off the fear and anger in the crowd.” Pictures and the videos of the protest were soon doing the rounds on social media and on TV news.
Five days after she was assaulted by members of the Delhi police, Thakur and her friends — all students at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University — stood waiting outside a lawyer’s office in the Supreme Court. In a bizarre turn of events, Thakur was not there to follow up on a complaint against the police. The police had filed a complaint against her, for assault, “outraging the modesty of a woman,” and “rioting while armed with a deadly weapon.”