The Chennai police on Saturday booked the national president of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a student group linked to the BJP has been charged for allegedly harassing a 52-year-old woman in Chennai.
The case was registered after the family of the woman alleged that the city police was not filing a First Information Report (FIR). This triggered a controversy.
The incident reportedly followed a disagreement over parking slots at their housing society.
The woman’s family says ABVP national president Dr Subbiah Shanmugam, who is her neighbour and the chief of Surgical Oncology at the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital and Government Hospital at Royapettah, urinated at the doorstep of the woman, threw used face masks and garbage, besides harassing her on the phone and breaking a signboard.
Narrating the alleged sequence of events, a family member told NDTV that trouble started at least four months ago when she asked Dr Shanmugam to pay for using her car-parking slot at her apartment complex.
“He would call her and harass, asking if he can send her chicken, knowing well she’s a vegetarian,” a family member said.
In July, the alleged harassment got haywire. “The government doctor urinated at her doorstep and threw used mask and other muck at her place. We have CCTV footage, but the police wouldn’t register an FIR. They gave only a CSR (Community Service Register) receipt. Though we had given the complaint first seeking legal action for harassment, nuisance and under the Epidemic Act, the police waited for the doctor to give a complaint and falsely made ours a counter-complaint,” the woman’s relative said.
Bala, a police officer at Chennai’s Adambakkam police station, had earlier denied allegations of police inaction. “The woman did not want the FIR and did not want details made public. She has told us about a compromise being worked out,” he said.
However, the student outfit, late at night, issued a statement saying the complainant, Balaji Vijayaraghavan, the woman’s nephew, has withdrawn the complaint.
“Misunderstandings between two families now stand cleared and all issues between the two parties have now resolved,” the ABVP stated.
Vijayaraghavan said the complaint has not been withdrawn technically, even if there were talks to this effect on Saturday. “An FIR has been filed and legal procedures have to follow,” he said. “We want police to look at the evidence which was portrayed as false by the accused. During the process, we may reconsider withdrawing the complaint about the fact that the accused is a doctor and his service may be vital…”
When NDTV attempted to reach out to him, initially Dr Shanmugam said he would call back but did not return the call. Later, he did not respond to fresh calls. A statement from the ABVP confirmed the issue over car parking but said the CCTV footage was tampered with.
However, with the controversy drawing media attention, the police registered a harassment complaint against Dr Shanmugam. He has also been charged for violating quarantine rules and “causing mischief”.
Dr R Dhinakaran, Additional Commissioner, Chennai South, said, “We’ve also added sections for causing mischief and disobedience of quarantine rules. We are investigating the CCTV footage given.”
DMK MP Kanimozhi has sought Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami’s intervention.
She tweeted, “This has become a routine on the part of the police to turn a blind eye on complaints against right-wing members. @CMOTamilNadu should immediately intervene and ensure all are treated equally before the law.”
The controversy has also drawn attention on social media with many raising questions whether action against Dr Shanmugam was delayed because of his political alliances.
The case was registered on Saturday evening on a petition filed by a 62-year-old woman at Adambakkam police station. Although Vijayaraghavan filed the complaint on July 11, the police had only issued a receipt and delayed registration of FIR.-
Earlier in the day, a police officer said Shanmugam was booked under IPC Sections 271 (knowingly disobeying rule) and 427 (mischief causing damage), as also under Tamil Nadu Women Harassment (Prevention) Act. The officer said he will be summoned for inquiry soon.
Image Credit: DTNext.com