In a shocking incident that happened last week in Saligao, sculptor, activist, drag king and educator Durga Gawde was assaulted by one Brian Franco, while on the way to the Saligao petrol station. The incident was caught on film by a bystander who later shared the footage with Gawde, who posted the video on online.
As per Gawde’s post shared on a Facebook Group, the incident took place on the night of May 31. While on the way to the Saligao petrol station by scooter, Gawde was almost banged into by Brian Franco who was talking on the phone while riding his scooter. When Gawde asked him to get off his phone, Franco started to abuse Gawde. Not wanting to cause a scene, Gawde rode off, however, Franco chose to pursue her. He chased Gawde down, cornered her bike and assaulted her. Gawde fought back, and the incident was dissolved once other bystanders got involved. One of the people nearby who had filmed the incident gave Gawde a copy of the video, which she took to the Saligao police station. To her dismay, Brian Franco showed up at the police station as well, complaining that Gawde had assaulted him. He was released on bail.
In her post which has already been shared over 1300 times, Durga Gawde seeks justice for what happened last night. She shares her truth about how she grew up in an abusive society, and how she felt in that moment that it was time that she fought back, for herself, and for her dignity as a genderfluid person. She says, “There are so many others like him in this world. This is not about being a man, woman, trans, genderfluid, Goan, Indian, it’s not about being an insider or outsider, it’s about being human.” Though the police were helpful in taking her statement, Gawde reveals that Franco blatantly abused her verbally in front of the police without fear. You can read the entire post and watch the video below.
UPDATE: Saligao Police Inspector in-charge Santosh Dessai stated that after the complaint made by Gawde regarding the assault, the accused was arrested under Section 354 (outraging modesty) and 354(d) (stalking) 323 (causing hurt voluntarily), and 504 (breach of peace). He said, “He was arrested and remanded to police custody for two days. After we objected to his release, he was remanded for two more days by the magistrate, before being released on bail.”