Pollachi Sexual Assault: 12 Things to Know About the Case
The Pollachi sexual assault case, which has rocked Tamil Nadu, has received little attention from national media organisations. On Tuesday, 12 March, the Madras High Court came down heavily on Delhi-based media organisations for "lack of priority" over the case.
Pollachi is a small town in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore district, approximately 535 km away from Chennai.
What exactly happened in Pollachi? Here are 12 things to know about the case.
- On 24 February, a 19-year-old Pollachi woman, filed a complaint with the local police station, alleging that four men sexually assaulted her.
- In her complaint, she said that the accused – Thirunavukkarasu, Sathish, Sabarirajan and Vasanthakumar – stripped her in a car and made a video of the act. The incident reportedly happened on 12 February.
- A fifth accused, ‘Bar’ Nagaraj, an AIADMK functionary, who was expelled by the party on 11 March, has been added to the FIR.
- The video was later used by the accused to blackmail the 19-year-old to extort money.
- The police investigation revealed that the accused had also assaulted and filmed other young women. Unconfirmed media reports suggest that at least 200 women have been assaulted, following the same blueprint.
- They are also reportedly checking whether young women who had killed themselves in Pollachi, over the past one year, did so due to being sexually assaulted by the same men.
- The police have asked other survivors to come forward with their experiences.
- The case, which assumed political overtones after a local functionary of ruling AIADMK allegedly attacked the survivor's brother, drew outrage from Opposition parties led by DMK.
- While three of the accused were arrested on 24 February, the main accused, Thirunavukkarasu, was apprehended on 5 March.
- An FIR filed has been against the men under Sections 354(A) (sexual harassment), 354 (B) (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe) of the Indian Penal Code, 66(E) (Punishment for violation of privacy) of Information Technology Act, 2000 and Section 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Women’s Harassment Act.
- On 12 March, all four accused were booked under the Goondas Act, which authorises detention up to a year.
- The Tamil Nadu Crime Branch CID, on 13 March, took over the investigation into the case.
- However, the Tamil Nadu government had decided to recommend the case to the CBI on 12 March.
(With inputs from PTI)