The police in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar registered an offence against famous hairstylist Jawed Habib for spitting on a woman’s hair while styling it, officials said on Friday.
IMAGE: In a viral video, Habib is seen spitting on the woman’s hair while she sits with her back to him and is heard saying “if there is scarcity of water, then use saliva”.. Photograph: Twitter
Apart from this, the National Commission for Women issued a summons to him asking to appear before it on January 11 in-peron.
A purported video of the incident, which took place during a hair-styling workshop held here on January 3, went viral on social media on Thursday.
In the video, Habib is heard telling the audience, “If there is a shortage of water, use saliva”.
The audience can be heard laughing and applauding in the background in the video which has now gone viral with Habib being criticised by netizens for his action.
The FIR was lodged at Mansurpur police station in Muzaffarnagar on a complaint filed by Pooja Gupta, a resident of Baraut town, on whose hair Habib spat during the workshop, the police said.
Habib has been booked under Section 355 (assault or criminal force with intent to dishonour person, otherwise than on grave provocation) of the Indian Penal Code and the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, they said.
The celebrity hairstylist apologised for the act on Friday.
“Some people have got offended due to some words during my seminar. I just want to say that our seminars are for professionals working in our field (hair-styling) and such seminars are often lengthy and we are required to make them humorous. But what do I say now, there is only one thing which I say from my heart, if you are really hurt, then I seek your forgiveness. I am sorry,” Habib said in a video.
The National Commission for Women has asked the Uttar Pradesh police to probe the veracity of the purported video.
“The commission has taken this incident very seriously and not only condemns this in strongest possible words, but also seeks your urgent intervention in the matter to investigate the veracity of this viral video for immediate action as per law/procedure.
“This incident also attracts violation of guidelines issued by the Union home ministry under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, whereby spitting in public is a punishable offence in the wake of the Covid pandemic,” the NCW said in a letter to the state police.
“You are, therefore, required to immediately investigate the matter for appropriate action. The action taken/status report must be apprised to the commission at the earliest,” it said.
Officials said the National Commission for Women will also sent a notice to the hairstylist for a hearing.
In a summon to Habib issued on Friday, the NCW said it has taken serious note of his action.
“Therefore, you are directed to appear before the commission in-person on 11.01.2022 at 12.30 pm for deposition of your statement,” the NCW said.
Separately, the Hindu activists held a protest against Habib and demanded action against him.
Many people on social media hit out at Habib over the incident.
“When hair stylist Jawed Habib spat on a woman’s hair, the audience cheered Habib’s action. Not a single person objected to the shameful act by Habib. The woman has been identified as Pooja Gupta and she didn’t expect such a humiliating experience,” Anshul Saxena said on Twitter.
Another video of the woman recounting the experience has also been posted on social media.
“Yesterday, I attended a workshop of Jawed Habib. He invited me on the stage to give me a haircut. He said if there is no water, you can use saliva. From now onwards, I will go to my streetside barber for a haircut, but will not go to Habib,” said Gupta, who owns a beauty parlour.
Later speaking to news channels, Gupta said she attended the workshop to learn from Habib and was delighted when she was called on stage by him.
“He was not answering my questions. Then he pushed my head, I objected and said I have cervical issues. Then he spat twice on my hair and said that if you do not have water in your parlour, then you can spit. My husband was making the video. After I came down from the stage, Habib’s assistant told me he was joking,” she added.
Meanwhile, Hindu activists held a protest against Habib.
They demanded action against the hairstylist.