I Told Indian Court I'd Been Sexually Assaulted and Everyone There Laughed; Londoner's Witness-Box Ordeal after Accusing Plumber of Attack

The Evening Standard (London, England), September 17, 2009 | Go to article overview

I Told Indian Court I'd Been Sexually Assaulted and Everyone There Laughed; Londoner's Witness-Box Ordeal after Accusing Plumber of Attack


Byline: Amar Singh, Emma Rowley and Anthony Dias in Gujarat

A LONDON woman told today how she was humiliated in an Indian courtroom after allegedly being attacked in her home.

Kaya Eldridge, a charity worker from Dulwich, is fighting a bitter battle after claiming she was "laughed at" in the witness box for accusing a plumber of molesting her.

The 23-year-old, who is working in India's western state of Gujarat on a three-month exchange programme, has sparked a national debate on the treatment of women in the Indian justice system after sacking her stateappointed lawyer for "abandoning" her in court this week.

She was then asked a series of "demeaning" questions for an hour, including whether she was staying in India illegally, and whether she drank alcohol or smoked. Today, as her mother prepared to fly to India to support her, she called on Gordon Brown to help her get justice.

She said: "My prime minister should know what is happening to me. The experience in court was humiliating. It was aggressive and relentless and seemed to be entirely aimed at demeaning and breaking me as far as possible. "The government prosecutor seemed completely indifferent. I felt powerless and helpless."

Meena Jagtap, the lawyer whom Ms Eldridge later appointed, said: "Kaya knows only English and she was not provided a translator. …

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