Residents of Virar are used to the frequent sight of a biker zooming around the streets, giving a tough time to miscreants who harass women. If you thought the biker is a big, burly man, you’d be in for a surprise. The biker is in fact a 28-year-old woman.
Called Virar’s real ‘bhai’ by her friends and even cops, Afreen Shaikh, a resident of Virar west, migrated to Mumbai from Saudi Arabia several years ago after facing troubles for her daredevil attitude. Once here, she steadily established a reputation for her brave and bindaas demeanor in ‘taking care’ of men who harrased women.
A few days ago, Shaikh chased three teenage boys on her bike after they eve teased a group of college girls and fled. “I accosted them at a junction and punished them by forcing them to do frog jumps and sit ups,” she says. She adds that she often earns hostility from the miscreants but an ‘angry look’ and threats to strip off their clothes is enough to put them in their place.
Apart from being a housewife and mother to three children, Shaikh loves riding bikes and has been doing so for 10 years.
“Earlier, when I went out for bike rides, passersby would give me shocked looks. But they’re used to it now. I can’t tolerate men harassing women and whenever I spot trouble, I am the first one to intervene and often beat up the tormentors.”
Shaikh’s husband, Mohammed Yasin Shaikh, 32, is an employee with a private firm and is wary of her actions. “He often discourages me by citing incidents of rapes and murders and tells me why I get involved in others matters. But I tell him that no man can dare to come even close to me,” states Shaikh.
She is also a member of the Virar police’s peace committee and is often approached by the police and distressed women.