The Coimbatore district police have issued an advisory to the public to not circulate the videos of the Pollachi sexual assault case on social media. Hours after the case was transferred to the CBI, the Coimbatore police issued a statement on Thursday urging people who may have more information about the case to come forward. They promised to protect the identities of the informers as well.
People can also send pictures, videos or information related to the case on a mobile number mentioned in the police statement – 9488442993. Urging people not to upload or share videos of the abuse itself, the advisory said, “Considering the importance of the case and the well-being of the affected person, we request you to not publish any photo or video in relation to this case on social media.”
If you wish you send information through post or give it in person, the address is:
Office of the Deputy Superintendent of Police,
No 800, Avinashi Road,
The case came to light on February 24 after a college student from Pollachi filed a police complaint that four men had sexually assaulted her inside a moving car on February 12. The survivor, who knew two of the four accused – Sabarirajan and Thirunavakkarasu – through social media, was filmed by the accused while she was allegedly sexually assaulted in the car.
The men then used the videos to blackmail her and extort money from her. Unable to bear this, the survivor informed her family, who then filed a police complaint. Following the complaint, the police arrested four men – Sabarirajan, Thirunavakkarasu, Vasanthakumar and Sathish – who were named by the survivor and remanded them to judicial custody. Police also found that they had many videos of a sexual nature involving them and other women on their phones.
The men are suspected to have been using a similar modus operandi – befriending women on social media, sexually assaulting them or indulging in sexual acts with them, recording videos and then using them to blackmail the women for monetary or sexual favours – for years.
The case was transferred to the CB-CID on Tuesday and on Wednesday it was transferred to the CBI.
Meanwhile, the videos from the phones of the accused are being widely shared on social media. These videos in circulation now are not the blurred ones that Tamil magazine Nakkeeran had posted initially, but ones that clearly compromise the identities of the women the accused had victimised and blackmailed.
The incident has sparked outrage online and offline with many people including students, politicians and activists staging protests across Tamil Nadu demanding that those who are involved be brought to book.