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Coimbatore

Exclusive: Pollachi ‘Sexual Abuse’ Complainant Says She Was Not Sexually Abused

thelede.co.in

In an exclusive interview to The Lede, she revealed that while she herself was not abused by the gang of four, there are multiple victims who need help

The tragic tale of the victim of sexual abuse by a gang of four men in Pollachi took a strange twist as The Lede spoke to the complainant and her brother on condition of complete anonymity.

What emerges is a tale of a series of righteous and well intentioned actions which backfired badly thanks to politics.

Here is the account of the complainant, a 19-year-old girl from Pollachi and her brother who spoke at length with The Lede.

It was around mid-January when the girl, Sarita (name changed), began to get messages from one of the four accused Sabariraj. Sabariraj was known since his school days to everyone as Rishwant.

“Rishwant messaged me on WhatsApp. He is my senior from school,” said Sarita. “He told me that he got my number from another school mate, a girl that he knew well.”

Rishwant messaged her – “I know you, I have seen you in school. I know your elder brother well too.” A connection established, the chat began.

About three weeks after initiating contact, Rishwant (Sabariraj) then fixed a meeting on February 12 with Sarita. “He suggested that we could go out for lunch and we agreed upon a restaurant that we both knew,” said Sarita.

Rishwant picked up Sarita in his car, according to her and as they drove, Sarita began to have misgivings. “He was driving away from the restaurant, in the opposite direction,” said Sarita. “He was also trying to touching me and I became very uncomfortable. I shouted and then he hit me,” she said.

A motorbike passed by the car at that moment, said Sarita and saw Rishwant hit her. In panic, Rishwant forced her out of the car, dropping her off on the main road.

Sarita said she came back home quietly and did not tell anyone about what had transpired. This was February 12.

“But that same night and over the next few days, I began getting calls from Thiru, Rishwant and Vasanth,” she said. Thirunavukkarasu is the key accused in the case along with Sabarirajan, Satish and Vasanthakumar.

“They told me that they have photos and videos of me with Rishwant in the car that day. Unable to bear their torture, I finally told my family on February 15. I showed a photo of Rishwant to my brother and told him what happened.”

Revenge

Angered, Sarita’s brother Mahesh called together his friends. They went hunting for Rishwant alias Sabariraj and beat him up on the night of February 16.

Sabariraj divulged the names of his friends and Mahesh and gang then find Vasanthakumar and Satish on the morning of February 17. That same evening they found Thirunavukkarasu. All three of them were thrashed by Mahesh and friends.

“Our basic idea was to beat them up and grab their mobile phones to delete whatever video they had of my sister,” said Mahesh. “But when we took their mobile phones and checked, we were unable to find any video of my sister. Instead, we found many videos of other girls who were known to us. There were at least four girls who I personally know. There are nearly a hundred videos and these fellows are also in those videos. The main person in all the videos is Satish. There are not just students but older women as well,” he said.

Mahesh recollected that there were around 105 videos but that only around 10-12 women were filmed in all. He said the gang seems to have been operating for around 2-3 years and that this had become an addictive sport to them – blackmailing women and forcing them to provide sexual favours or part with money.

“Because we found so many videos, especially on Satish’s and Thiru’s phones, we took the mobile phones to the police station and handed them over,” said Mahesh. This was on February 17.

Mahesh said that they took back-ups of five videos and handed them over to the police. “We filed a complaint as well. The police told us that the DSP and SP had gone for election training and action would be taken once they come back.”

In the meanwhile, smarting from the thrashing, Thirunavukkarasu returned to Mahesh with some of his own friends including ‘Bar’ Nagaraj. They threatened Mahesh, asking him to leave things alone and not to escalate them further.

‘Bar’ Nagaraj, whose TASMAC (Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation) liquor retail outlet on Valparai road was smashed by angry protesters today, is an aide of former Municipality Chairman of the AIAMDK, Krishna Kumar.

Concerned, Mahesh and Sarita met Palanisamy, a local politician and a family friend, who took them to meet Pollachi Jayaraman, local MLA and Deputy Speaker either on February 23 or February 24 (the date is unclear).

Jayaraman then spoke to the local police to take action on the issue and after that, Sarita registered an FIR on February 24.

Overzealousness Backfires

The FIR though tells a completely different story. In the FIR, it is recorded that Sarita had entered the car with all four men, with Thirunavukkarasu as the driver. The FIR states that Sabariraj removed Sarita’s top while Satish filmed the entire scene. After that, the gang snatched a gold chain worn by Sarita and dropped her off near Kalpana Mill in Pollachi.

Sarita though in her conversation with The Lede claimed that her narrated version is the correct one. When questioned as to why she had given false information in the FIR, Sarita said that it was the police which had included those details.

The police, it appears, in their zealousness to catch the gang of serial sexual abusers, had added in a lot of details that simply did not happen. Added to that zealousness was a direction from the sitting MLA to take up the case and the fact that Sarita is in fact related to Pollachi Jayaraman, and the police seem to have been on hot coals.

Mahesh said that he had shared contacts of the girls he knew who were in those videos with the police. “The police contacted some of them and they were willing to give a complaint,” said Mahesh. “But now after all of this has happened, they are threatening to commit suicide if the police tries to contact them,” he said.

“I gave the complaint because I was confident that I have done nothing wrong. Even after I gave the complaint and the arrests were made, I was still attending classes. But now I am afraid to go to college,” said Sarita.

But Sarita too is now afraid.

“Those within my close circles know that I am the complainant,” she said. “But after the videos of the other girls have somehow been released and circulated, people now feel that it could be me. Now I am feeling a bit hesitant to go to college. The confidence I had all these days has gone,” she said.

“The police department which promised to keep my identity confidential has itself given my name and address to the press. Now people here are under the impression that I am the girl in the video who is begging for mercy. In the past 2-3 days, since the issue has become political in nature, we are all very afraid.”

Her brother Mahesh is bitter about the media. “Every day at least 2 camerapersons stand outside our house and our neighbours are getting curious. It is the media which is creating the most problems,” he said.

Sarita sighed. “Only now I realise why victims of sexual abuse do not come forward and complain,” she said.

SOURCE : https://thelede.co.in/exclusive-pollachi-sexual-abuse-complainant-says-not-sexually-abused/

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