Pollachi: The Pollachi sexual assault case in Tamil Nadu turns uglier with each passing day. The latest being the fact that the victim’s name and identity that should have been confidential was announced publicly. That too by Coimbatore’s superintendent of police, R Pandiarajan. Such an error happened twice in fact.

On March 1, the superintendent of police in Coimbatore, R Pandiarajan, in a press conference, revealed the name of the victim and gave out details about her and the case.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, on March 6, the police department further announced more details of another victim including her name, address, the college she studies in, etc. 

The victim then submitted a petition to the Coimbatore district collector, requesting the protection of her identity. 

She wrote in her letter: “Sir, nobody, including political parties, media and electronic media should use my name based on what happened to me. If they do, they are adding to my mental trauma and humiliation. They are, thereby, responsible for the consequences of such actions. The justice I deserve should not be re-directed by political parties for their political opportunism. They should not hamper justice. I humbly request that action be taken on those spreading false messages regarding this.”

The Pollachi sexual assault case was first reported in February after one of the accused asked a college student to meet him in the car. 

The accused then sexually assaulted her in the moving vehicle, all the while recording the visuals of the incident.

The girl then filed a complaint with the Pollachi police. 

However, the incident turned murkier after the police found out that more than 50 girls had been subjected to sexual assault and hundreds of videos had been recovered from the accused.

To further escalate things, the prime accused in the case, who is known by the name Tirunavukkarasu is allegedly an aide of AIADMK’s party member A Nagaraj.

MyNation spoke to Duraimurugan, lawyer for the AIADMK, who admitted that he knew far too much than he can reveal and found himself constantly stopping sentences midway.

Duraimuragan said that the party has expelled A Nagaraj and is waiting for him to prove his innocence. 

When asked about what happens to the age old saying of 'innocent until proven guilty', Duraimurugan refused to reply.

The lawyer also went on to say that the party, through his expulsion, is trying to convey to the people that they are genuine.

Then one can only wonder whether this was just a move to please the people of Tamil Nadu.

MyNation also got in touch with advocate Sudha Ramalingam who said, “The perversity of the perpetrators is never taken into account and he gets away with it. But the victim is shamed even though she was at the receiving end of torture and trauma.”

Sudha Ramalingam also added that there should be more number of forensic labs, which would then speed up the process of the investigations. 

“Once the forensic reports are sent and the charge sheet is filed, then the case will move fast. But how long they’ll take for filing the charge sheet is not known,” added Sudha Ramalingam.

As far as the case of naming the victim goes, Sudha said, “The same thing that is meted out to media houses for naming victims of rape should be implemented for the police as well. This is unacceptable and insensitive.”

Seeking the harshest of punishments is Women and Child Rights activist Brinda Adige, who said that those convicted in the case must be given life imprisonment without parole.

“Those who have sexually assaulted minors must be rigorously punished. And the political connections of these accused must be stripped of party positions,” added Brinda Adige.

Adige went on to accuse the state, including the police, for its patriarchy and its inability to empathise with the victims. 

Rekha Sharma, chairperson of the National Commission for Women in India spoke to MyNation and said that this was the first time that she was encountering an assault case of this magnitude. 

“We have sought for a report from the DGP in Tamil Nadu. Once that comes, I will ensure that the safety of these women are taken into account and the case is put on fast track. Within three months, we will ensure action is taken against the convicts,” assured Rekha Sharma.

The DMK too has conducted several protests demanding justice for the victims of the Pollachi case.

DMK spokesperson Saravanan has said that the matter is of concern and is not political. “One thing that DMK can assure is that this is not political and will not be forgotten post elections,” said Saravanan.

The entire state of Tamil Nadu is actively involved in bringing the perpetrators to book. Thirunavakkarasu, Sathish, Sabariraj and Vasanthkumar - the four accused in the case- have been booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code and two other laws -- the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act and the Goondas Act.

The case has been transferred to the Crime Branch CID and the investigation will be headed by the CB-CID's superintendent of police Nisha Parthipan.