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The Pollachi sexual assault case, which is now with CBI, has managed to kindle emotions that refused to extinguish. Today, March 19, Pollachi is ready to witness a complete commercial shutdown, which has been organized by the town’s trade unions with the support of all political parties. A court-monitored probe has been demanded by the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) in the issue.
A slew of protests have been held in Tamil Nadu by students, lawyers, traders, politicians and women, all of them demanding a speedy investigation into the shocking Pollachi case.
People from across Thiruvarur, Coimbatore, Kumbakonam, Pudukkottai and Madurai staged protests, expressing disappointment and concern over the way the investigation process is progressing at present. On Monday, March 18, protests were staged by students pursuing Siddha medicine in Tirunelveli. Pinning black tags onto their white coats, they demanded that the perpetrators be punished so severely that such crimes do not occur again. They further sought improvement to make sure that women are safe and secure.
On the same day, Lawyers in Coimbatore, who are part of the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Joint Action Committee (JAC), asked for a court-monitored probe into the matter, engaging in a court boycott. Adding the name of Coimbatore SP R Pandiarajan as an accused in the case, the association sought his removal, because he had followed suit in a press meet where the Pollachi police had revealed the identity of the complainant. On March 12, a massive protest was held by the DMK-led Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi.
In the meanwhile, the main accused Thirunavukkarasu was handed over by the CB-CID in Coimbatore central prison on Monday, March 18. Multiple inspections have been conducted at Thirunavukkarasu’s farmhouse in Pollachi’s Chinnappampalayam, which is the alleged spot where women were brought, assaulted and filmed.
Further, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court slammed the Tamil Nadu government for dealing with the case callously and revealing the name and other details of the victim. The government has been ordered by the court to pay a compensation of Rs 25 lakh to the victim.
Over the past few days, Tamil Nadu has been shocked by the horrible case of sexual abuse of a college student from Pollachi town. What shocked people more is the extent of the crime. It is alleged that a gang of men, some with certain political connections, sexually assaulted over 50 women in the past seven years. The case has taken Tamil Nadu by storm after a leaked video of a victim pleading her tormentors prompted senior leaders like DMK president M.K. Stalin to demand a fair probe in the case.
The National Commission of Women (NCW) took cognisance of the situation and has issued a statement. It said that they have come across a news item captioned “Pollachi sexual abuse case: Goondas Act invoked against the accused” in media wherein it’s reported that several girls from schools and colleges were harassed and filmed. The videos were in turn used to blackmail them. They further said that the commission is seriously concerned about the safety and security of the women in Tamil Nadu. They wanted a detailed report after action is taken and investigation is complete.
The accused confessed to their crime shortly after arrest. The police were able to establish that the gang members were habitual offenders. A police officer familiar with the case told The News Minute, “Their modus operandi was the same. One of them would befriend the woman. A meeting would be set up. One or more of these men will either try to take the relationship further or they may forcefully take videos or pictures. They would then blackmail them for money.”
After the arrest, the police confiscated their phones. Although most of the pictures and videos were deleted, the phones were handed over to the forensics department to find additional information on other victims.
While the police sources said that they have figured out the identity of another suspected victim, there has been no formal complaint by any other woman. The local police strongly feels that there might be at least 50 victims who were lured by the four men. The Pollachi police even issued a public call for women, to come forward, if they have been victims of sexual assault by a gang of four men. However, the police have not received any complaints yet.
Meanwhile, the audio of the fourth accused, the 26-year-old Thirunavukkarasu has been making rounds in Tamil Nadu where he can be heard saying, “I would like to say one thing to the department (police), you have filed one false case based on version of one girl.”
Pollachi DSP Jeyaram suspects that the gang has been doing this for at least seven years.
Revenge porn, online stalking, abuse, harassment has become all too common in today’s world. The gang in question allegedly used social media to stalk and lure women and then used the situation to their advantage. The police suspect they may have carried on unabated for years, in absence of formal complaints. The Logical Indian urges women to come out and speak against harassment, intimidation and blackmail without fear. We would also urge authorities to conduct a free and fair probe and support such brave women. At the same time, people should be wary of befriending unknown Facebook profiles.
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