When Kottayam student Renson John walked into a store of textile giant Kalyan Silks on February 4, he could not have expected the events that unfolded later on. Not only was Renson sold an inferior quality shirt, but was also allegedly assaulted for complaining about it.
On February 4, Renson, a student of Baselius Arts and Science College in Kottayam, bought a shirt costing Rs 600 from Kalyan Silks. When he wore it for the first time on Valentine's Day, to his horror, the colour started to run, spreading all over his body.
“I just touched the shirt, and my fingers were immediately stained. I rang them up, and they agreed for an exchange, asking me to bring it back,” Renson tells The News Minute.
Renson then went back to the store that same day along with his friend Anzil. However, the store was unresponsive to his request, making him wait a long time says Renson.
“I was getting restless, since I wanted to get back to college. After several reminders, they offered me another shirt of the same type, but of a different colour. I refused since there was a high probability that a similar shirt could also turn out to be damaged. Finally, after much debate, they agreed to let me opt for a new one of my choice,” narrates Renson.
While Renson was trying on a couple of shirts inside the trial room, however, a few salesmen burst in and began assaulting him.
“They were shouting at me. They wanted to know why I had made such a fuss about a shirt that cost just Rs 600. How does that matter? I had bought a product after paying for it. Am I not entitled to use it for at least a few days?” asks Renson.
“They accused me of causing some other customers to leave, because of all the ruckus I had apparently created inside the showroom,” he continues.
According to Renson, the staff kept slapping and hitting him and his friend Anzil, until an elderly customer intervened.
“He was the only one to bravely shout at those who were assaulting me. It was only then that they stopped. I called my father, uncle and some college friends. The police arrived. We filed a case of assault at the Kottayam West police station, and also submitted another complaint against Kalyan Silks with the Commissioner.”
On Wednesday, Renson’s college-mates held a protest march that culminated at the doors of Kalyan Silks in his support.
“Finally, they assured us a compensation sum of Rs 1 lakh. Even though I have received the amount, we still plan to pursue the assault case. But we have withdrawn our complaint against the establishment.”
Renson adds that the shop informed him that the staff members responsible for the assault had already been suspended.
“But how do we know they have not been accommodated in some other Kalyan Silk showroom?” he asks.
Surprisingly, most media outlets chose to ignore the huge protest march by the students on Wednesday. Only the online portal Marunadan Malayali covered the incident.
Kottyam West police station SHO Shibu N told TNM that three staff-members were arrested, but are currently out on bail.
“As per the primary reading of the case, what the students say seems true. We did arrest three of the staff, but then let them off on bail,” the officer said.
Representatives of the Kalyan Silks showroom refused to comment on the issue.