Kerala: Thiruvananthapuram Press Club Secretary Arrested For Alleged Moral Policing, Assaulting Woman Journalist
The secretary of the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club, Kerala, was arrested by the police on Thursday, December 5, for allegedly assaulting a woman journalist and subjecting her to moral policing.
M Radhakrishnan, a proofreader with a Malayalam daily, was arrested by a police team led by Cantonment Assistant Commissioner Suneesh Kumar from the Press Club after protests by the Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) outside the secretary’s room.
On Saturday night, November 30, Radhakrishnan, who stays in the same neighbourhood as the victim, allegedly barged into the victim’s house with some men to enquire about a man who had visited her house. At the time, the woman’s husband, also a journalist, was away at work.
According to the woman’s complaint, the men also allegedly assaulted her friend and pushed her in front of her two young children. The Secretary also allegedly accused the journalist of having an affair with the man who is also a colleague.
“Shocked to see the reports about the barbaric moral policing by a journalist who is also the secretary of Thiruvananthapuram Press Club against a woman journalist…He along with his friends physically harassed the woman journalist, caused trauma to her kids besides moral policing,” the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) was quoted by Manorama Online.
After the incident, the victim and her husband filed a complaint with the Pettah police on December 3. Although the police registered a case against him, he was not arrested.
Meanwhile, NWMI wrote letters to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the state women’s commission, demanding action against the Secretary. The NWMI members also staged a protest at the Press Club on Thursday morning demanding his arrest.
While Radhakrishnan was not at the club during the protests, he came to the Press Club after the women journalists left. He also attended the managing committee meeting, where he allegedly made derogatory remarks against the woman. As the managing committee failed to take any action against the accused, the women journalists returned to the Press Club.
Following the protest, the Pettah police came to the Press Club and arrested him under IPC Sections 451 (house trespass), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage the modesty of women) and 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of an offence committed in prosecution of common object).
When Radhakrishnan was taken out of the office, the women journalists also booed and hurled slogans at the man. The Kerala State Women’s Commission also registered a suo-moto case against him.
According to The News Minute report, Radhakrishnan spoke to the media while being taken away and said, “I was only trying to help a family from being broken.”
A number of women journalists also came out in support of the victim on social media. “The Tvm Press Club Secretary just got arrested. This happened only because a bunch of women journalists from NVMI stood together. He barged into the house of our colleague, moral policed and assaulted her. If you touch one of us, we will retaliate. No longer your fiefdom,” Dhanya Rajendran, Editor in Chief of The News Minute, tweeted on December 5.
The Tvm Press Club Secretary just got arrested. This happened only because a bunch of women journalists from @NWM_India stood together. He barged into the house of our colleague, moral policed and assualted her. If you touch one of us, we wil retaliate. No longer your fiefdom pic.twitter.com/x5Vm9RbnYB
— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) December 5, 2019