‘Humiliated For Asking Questions In His Seminar’: Woman Whose Hair Jawed Habib Spit In On Stage
The woman, Pooja Gupta, says she will file a police case against Habib.
A video of popular hair-stylist and salon businessman Jawed Habib spitting on a woman’s head and laughing about it on stage is widely circulating on social media.
In the video, Habib is seen saying that if there is no water in the salon, the hair-stylist can spit in the client’s hair. Habib goes on to actually spit in the woman’s hair. He then laughs and tells the audience, “Mere is thook mein jaan hai (my spit has power).”
Surprisingly, the audience is heard laughing with Habib at his gross behaviour.
The video triggered massive outrage on social media. Many users wondered if Habib actually employs this tactic in his salons, while some others drew a connection between Habib’s Muslim identity and several Muslim cooks arrested in recent times with allegations of spitting in naan.
A day after the episode went viral, videos surfaced of the woman whose hair Habib spit in.
She is Pooja Gupta, a resident of Baraut city in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district.
The incident happened on 3 January during a seminar for beauticians and salon owners in Muzaffarnagar, about 60 kilometres from Baraut.
The seminar was organised by a company called WonderSoft Professional at Kings Villa hotel. The event charged the participants Rs 2500 and promised them training and tips by Habib in hair-cutting, chemical treatment of hair and other techniques in hair makeover.
Gupta, who runs a beauty parlour in Baraut, was one of the several people who attended the seminar.
In interviews to news channels, Gupta has narrated her version of what transpired before Habib carried out the outrageous act.
She says that during the seminar when Habib asked participants if they had any questions for him, she stood up and asked some. She says she was the only participant who asked questions.
Habib did not reply to her questions. Instead, he told her “tu chup baith ja” (shut up and sit down). He also told her that he runs 900 salons while she runs just one.
“Tu” is regarded as a disrespectful way of addressing a stranger, especially a woman.
Later during the seminar when Habib needed to demonstrate a haircut to the participants, he singled out Gupta and asked her to come on the stage.
As per Gupta, Habib then mocked her in front of the audience by saying that she [Gupta] is the same woman who was constantly asking ‘how is this possible, how is this possible’ during the seminar but has quickly rushed to the stage to get a haircut from him.
Habib pushed her head on stage, she says. “He pushed my head, to which I objected and requested him not to do that again as I am a Cervical patient,” she says.
Seconds later, Habib parted her hair and spit in them, as clearly visible in the videos.
From Gupta’s version, it appears that Habib took offence to Gupta’s questions and did the spitting act to humiliate her.
Gupta says the entire incident was captured on video being recorded by her husband, Sajeev Gupta. “He has all the proof.”
She says that when she stepped down from the stage, Habib’s assistant told her that he was merely joking. Gupta told him it was no joke and raised objection. She says none from the organisers or Habib’s team supported her.
Gupta says the incident has “ruined her career”.
“My clients are telling me I have lost my reputation. Others are saying I - a nobody - has taken on a celebrity like Jawed Habib and stand no chance in the parlour business now.”
“My students are telling me Habib has spit in your hair, what reputation are you left with now,” she says.
On 6 January, Gupta told media that when she went to Baraut police station to lodge a police complaint, an officer told her to go to Muzaffarnagar instead as that is where the incident had taken place.
She said she was on her way to Muzaffarnagar to file a first information report (FIR) against Habib.
“I want my respect back. This is not about me alone. This is about respect of women in general,” she told the reporters.
Meanwhile, social media users have been appealing the national women commission to take cognizance of the incident. In a reply to this correspondent on Twitter, women commission chief Rekha Sharma said she has taken up the matter already.
Habib or his company has not released any statement on the fiasco so far.
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