Harassment is not new to women and that’s what happens regularly in this cafe in Pune. For over a decade, The High Spirits Cafe has been one of Pune’s most popular hangouts, and a regular haunt for the city’s youth.
Earlier this week, however, it’s truth started to come out when writer Sheena Dabholkar started tweeting about alleged incidents of harassment that she had both seen and been through at the bar over the years.
According to Dabholkar, women have to face everything from sexist comments to physical harassment at the hands of the owners and their friends.
As Dabholkar continued tweeting about her experiences, multiple others weighed in with similar incidents of harassment that they, or someone they knew, had been through there.
As more women came forward with their stories over the past couple of days, multiple stand up comedians have announced that they will no longer perform at the venue.
A high spirits cafe spokesperson said- “We are deeply shocked and saddened by the allegations, and completely deny the same. It appears these lies are emanating from a single person, with an agenda, who appears to be motivated by the desire to tarnish the reputation of a bar that has an unblemished record of not having any issues like this arise in its premises in all 13 years of its existence.
Women’s Safety has always been a top priority of ours, and all our efforts have been channeled to ensure that this is not compromised. Right from the point when any customer, man or woman, enters the premises until they leave the outlet, we have tried to secure every aspect of their experience. We have female bouncers for security, female administration staff to ensure assistance and vigilance for female patrons, and even screened rickshaw drivers for female patrons, to make sure women get home safe.”
As the management refuses to investigate the claims, more women are coming forward with allegations of harassment against them every passing day.
Are we really making India a safe place for women?