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'May Subvert Inquiry': Rape Survivor Wants Kerala Tattoo Artist’s Bail Cancelled

Municipality records show that Sujeesh was running the tattoo studio, Inkfected, without a license.

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'May Subvert Inquiry': Rape Survivor Wants Kerala Tattoo Artist’s Bail Cancelled
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The Kerala High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the state government on a petition filed by the survivor seeking to cancel the bail granted to tattoo artist Sujeesh PS in a rape case.

Sujeesh PS, who runs the tattoo studio Inkfected, has been named by multiple women of alleged rape and sexual abuse. The flood of allegations began with an anonymous post on Reddit (a discussion website) on Tuesday, 2 March, where an 18-year-old young woman narrated how she was raped inside the tattoo studio. The Kochi-based tattoo artist used to have clients including leading artists from the Malayalam film industry.

At least seven First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered against Sujeesh – two for rape and the others for sexual assault under Section 354 (assault or using criminal force against a woman, outraging her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). This includes a complaint by a foreign woman who alleged sexual harassment when she had come to his studio for tattooing.

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‘Accused May Try To Tamper With Evidence:’ Petition

Sujeesh was absconding for a while before he was arrested by the Kerala Police on 6 March 2022. The Kochi-based tattoo artist was denied bail and his first bail application was dismissed on 22 March. However, on 8 April, the Additional Sessions Judge Shibu Thomas granted bail to Sujeesh in two cases of rape that were registered against him.

The Quint tried reaching Sujeesh but he was unavailable.

The petitioner submitted that the investigation in the case against him was in advanced stage and if the accused continued to be on bail, he might tamper with the evidence and sabotage the investigation. There was every chance of him influencing or intimidating the witnesses in the case.

The plea pointed out that the sessions court had overlooked the fact that his studio was earlier located in Palarivattom police station limits where other FIRs have been registered against him. The court seems to have made note of only the cases registered by the Cheranalloor police in Ernakulam as per the bail order, it read.

Sujeesh was in police custody for around 25 days before he was granted bail.

"The investigation is going on well and the accused is cooperating. We have recorded the statements of all the survivor. We still haven't received the notice. We shall respond at the earliest," the Cheranalloor Circle Inspector told The Quint.

Raghul Sudheesh, the advocate representing the woman said that the survivors “initially had apprehensions about the investigation considering the artist’s influence but are satisfied with the fair job that the police is doing.”

He should be looked at as a regular predator. Someone who has been abusing women for a very long time and he should be tried in that capacity. A serial offender being out on bail makes the survivor feel very unsafe and gives raise to apprehensions about the fairness of the investigation. They've survived so much trauma and he came out of jail in less than a month.
Raghul Sudheesh, Advocate
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Sujeesh Never Had the Licence To Run a Tattoo Studio

Another survivor told The Quint that municipality records show that Sujeesh was running the tattoo studio without a licence.

“We wrote to the municipality and found out that Sujeesh never had the licence to run the tattoo studio. He has done a clear breach of law,” she said. The Quint accessed records from the Kochi Municipal Corporation to confirm this claim.

However, what is alarming is, she added, “More than 20 people called out Sujeesh on social media and at least seven filed official complaints. But he today is a free man enjoying time with his family while survivors struggle to make their voices heard.”

"We are seeing this pattern in many such cases. Vijay Babu is walking around freely while he is not only accused of rape but had also blurted the name of the woman publicly on social media. He returned to Kerala only after getting bail! There is no news of the make-up artist Anez Anzare, who was also accused by many women of sexual harassment. How will we get justice if the predators are roaming free?" she questioned.

A single-judge bench of Justice Kauser Edappagath is hearing the case.

It is important to note that this case had resurrected the #MeToo movement in Kerala and opened the floodgates for a shockingly high number of women who came out with their experiences of sexual abuse at beauty parlours, psychologists, and cinema.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read and Breaking News at the Quint, browse for more from south-india

Topics:  Sexual Harassment   Kerala   Tattoo Artist 

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