It was like any other day for Sowmya (name changed), a Thiruvananthapuram-based journalist with 14 years of experience. She was home with her two children, aged 7 and 8, on Saturday night. Suddenly, they heard someone banging at the door. Sowmya’s husband – also a journalist – was away at the office at that time. When Sowmya opened the door with her children right behind her, she saw her colleague M Radhakrishnan, who is the secretary of the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club.
And just as suddenly as she opened the door, Radhakrishnan – who was with a group of people – barged into the house, Sowmya and her husband have said in a police complaint with the Pettah police station.
Radhakrishnan is a proofreader in the same organisation where Sowmya works, and lives in the same neighbourhood. Radhakrishnan and his supporters had forcibly brought along Ramesh (name changed) – a family friend of Sowmya’s who had visited her home just a little while back. And the Press Club Secretary started shouting at Sowmya and Ramesh, insinuating a relationship between them, asking them what Ramesh was doing at the house, and demanding an apology from both of them.
Creating a traumatic situation for Sowmya and her children for around an hour, Radhakrishnan began inspecting the bedroom and even the kitchen. According to the complaint filed by Sowmya, Radhakrishnan forcefully pushed her and the children to the bedroom. The group made Ramesh sit on a chair in the living room and started beating him. Seeing this from the bedroom, Sowmya asked them not to beat him. The complaint also said that Radhakrishnan physically assaulted Sowmya.
"They dragged me and the children to our bedrorom. This was a scary experience for us," she says in her complaint.
She also insisted on calling her husband home, which Radhakrishnan opposed.
Sowmya however soon managed to call her husband Sajeesh (name changed), who reached the home within minutes. Sajeesh questioned the group about their intentions, and soon they all left the house. Later, Sajeesh spoke to one of the men who was part of the group, Aneesh, who told him that this was all Radhakrishnan’s plan and he wasn’t aware of Radhakrishnan’s intentions. This was recorded by Sajeesh, and has been mentioned in the police complaint.
According to the complaint, Sowmya’s neighbours, advocate Radhika Devi and her son Aswin who was an accused in criminal cases in the past, were also with Radhakrishnan.
Sowmya suspects that Radhakrishnan developed an enmity towards her following the election to the Kerala Union of Working Journalists that was held in September. Radhakrishnan had allegedly called up Sowmya after the election and threatened her for not backing the panel that he supported.
Sowmya has also filed a complaint with the Chief editor of the daily where she and Radhakrishnan work.