Pollachi Sexual Assault: On the Streets, Anger & Distrust of Cops

People are demanding justice in the Pollachi sexual abuse case and condemning the police for their inaction.

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“Had this happened to a politician’s daughter or mother or any family member immediate action would have been taken. Because this case concerns regular public, they don’t care.”
Resident, Pollachi

Public fury has intensified on the streets of Pollachi in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu. The news of a 19-year-old woman being allegedly sexually harassed and blackmailed by a group of men on 12 February in Pollachi has angered many. She had complained to the police on 24 February.

People have taken to the streets condemning the police for not levying more serious charges and not doing their best to ensure all the culprits are brought to justice.

Following outrage, the police, on Tuesday, 12 March, booked the four accused under the Goondas Act.

After the AIADMK expelled a local functionary after he allegedly attacked the victim’s brother, many suspect that since there are links to the ruling party there could be interference in the investigation.

“Everyone has been concerned about keeping women safe, well-mannered. . . keeping them inside the homes, and no one bothered about the men. The women are all good, but look at how rowdy the men have become,” said a student.

Many questioned how culprits who have allegedly harmed more than 200 women be booked only under the Goondas Act.

“When a man going to a shop to buy paan for two rupees thinks he can just grab a woman’s hand... As long as this patriarchal society exists, as long as women are used for advertisements, such atrocities will continue,” said another woman.

Many students said that the reason why women are scared to come forward is because how media unethically leaks information about the victim, risking her life.


Legal Route Punctured by Police and Politicians?

Kalaiarasu, an advocate, asked why a male officer had been in-charge of the case since the complaint was registered on 24 February 2019. “There were no women officers who spoke to the victim. How can the victim speak freely to a man?” he said.

Many others alleged that the officers involved in the investigation were corrupt.

“Who have they handed the case to today? The police officer who stood for TASMAC (liquor) shop and slapped a woman – SP Pandiarajan? The other is DSP Jayaraman who had misbehaved with a woman during a NEET protest. Imagine how well this case will be dealt with?” a woman asked.

“As if confirming our doubts, SP Pandiarajan says investigation is going on and at the same time, denies involvement of any politicians in the case. Even before the investigation is over, we don't know how he can confirm that,” said advocate Venmani.

Many women advocates asked for an enquiry committee headed by a woman to be set up to find out exactly what happened and dispense justice.

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