Over 40 km south of the district headquarters Coimbatore lies Pollachi, an important town which connects Tamil Nadu with its neighbouring state, Kerala. But for the past days, the shocking cases of alleged rape, blackmail and sexual assault of over 50 women have kept the town in news. However, what is leading to statewide protests in Tamil Nadu is yet to grab the attention of the national media.
A Time Of Events
In February last month, a college student in Pollachi was allegedly sexually abused inside a car by a man named Sabarirajan. He was joined by three other accused named Thirunavukkaras, Sathish and Vasanthkumar. They forcefully disrobed her and filmed the act. The survivor was later blackmailed for sexual favours and money multiple times by the accused who had threatened to leak the video on social media. She later informed her brother, who along with his friends tracked down the accused. Upon confrontation with the accused, they recovered several similar videos of other women who were also being blackmailed. It was later found that the accused were running an extortion racket, reports The News Minute
What Happened Next?
Police suspect that over 50 women might have fallen prey to their bid to extort and blackmail. A case was registered against the four accused at the Pollachi East police station. On February 26, they were arrested and booked under Sections 354 (A), 354 (B) of the Indian Penal Code, Section 66 (E) of the IT Act and Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act. Later, the district collector issued the order to arrest them under the Goondas Act.
Coimbatore SP Rural R. Pandiarajan on Pollachi sex scandal (more than 50 women lured and sexually harassed by a gang of 4 and the acts videographed): Case has been registered; concerned 4 accused arrested and remanded under Goonda Act pic.twitter.com/xXWxeWEhDF
— ANI (@ANI) March 12, 2019
The case triggered a massive outrage across the state. From college students to leaders of the Opposition, many took to streets to protest. Meanwhile, another case was filed against four people named T Senthil (25), P Babu (26), K Vasanthakumar (20), R Manivannan and AIADMK functionary A Nagaraj (28) for allegedly assaulting the brother of the survivor. The opposition parties accused the ruling AIADMK government of not taking strict action against the accused. Nagaraj was however expelled from the party, reports The New Indian Express.
Pollachi, Coimbatore: DMK leaders and leaders from other political parties participate in the protest over Pollachi sex scandal (more than 50 women lured and sexually harassed by a gang of 4 and the acts videographed). #TamilNadu pic.twitter.com/rSe0HWQgjO
— ANI (@ANI) March 12, 2019
No Coverage in Mainstream Media
There was heavy criticism against mainstream media for not giving enough attention to the case. The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court said that national media houses do not pay enough attention to grievous crimes in rural areas and opined Tamil Nadu is being ‘deliberately avoided’.
Meanwhile, on March 12, the state government transferred the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation hours after being handed over to the Crime Branch Crime Investigation Department (CB -CBI).