From opening her front door to find urine splattered across it to discovering used masks stuffed into her grill, a 60-year-old resident of Chennai has alleged that she has been facing constant harassment from a neighbour. The person behind the harassment, according to the woman who is a widow and lives alone, is Dr Subbiah Shanmugam, a resident in the floor below hers, in an apartment in Nanganallur.
Dr Subbiah is a surgical oncologist who heads the Department of Surgical Oncology in Kilpauk Medical College and is also the ABVP national president.
The woman's family fixed a CCTV camera on their floor on July 10. They suspected that Subbiah, who was upset over a conversation about a parking space, was throwing rubbish outside her door. At 8.20 pm on the same day, the camera captured a man urinating on her door. The video which TNM has watched, shows a man wearing a blue shirt and passing urine in front of the victim's house. The family has alleged that this was Dr Subbiah, he has however denied it.
Armed with the video, the family approached the Adambakkam police station on July 11, but were not even given a copy of the CSR (Community Service Register), to acknowledge their complaint till July 18. An FIR has still not been filed in the case.
"I believe that his political ties are stopping the police from looking into this case further. I have gone to the station multiple times since the complaint was filed and there has been no action. The inspector Balan tells me that the opponent (Dr Subbiah) wants to talk to the Commissioner directly," says Balaji Vijayaraghavan, the nephew of the victim.
According to the family, the harassment is a result of a conversation between the woman and the doctor in January. He had allegedly wanted to use the victim's vacant parking space to which she agreed under the condition that he pay a fee of Rs 1,500 a month. He refused; following this, there have allegedly been several instances of harassment. Though the woman had not informed any family members as she was afraid the matter may get out of hand, neighbours informed Balaji and his sister of the alleged harassment.
"My aunt has found wet newspapers, used masks and all sorts of muck on her door. Our signboard in the parking space was vandalised as well. But in order to ensure there is proof, we installed a CCTV camera on our floor on Friday at around 5 pm," says Balaji.
The issue has become political with the NSUI asking for action against the ABVP President. Dr Subbiah however says the video is doctored. "The video is doctored. That is not me. Someone is manipulating the situation," Dr. Subbiah tells TNM. He admits that he temporarily used the family's parking spot but later got another for himself. "This is a social media trial. I never put any waste on their door or harassed my neighbour in any way," he adds.
The ABVP meanwhile has called it a malicious, derogatory propaganda against Dr. Subbiah Shanmugam. â€śABVP demands investigation be done on the claims by NSUI which are libellous in nature and have invited legal action against the national office bearers of INC. IYC and the NSUI. There was indeed an issue of parking slots at the residential society between two families owing to lack of communication between them. It includes the Dr Subbiah family on one side. Now the two families have thoroughly discussed the issue and are coming to a resolution without any ill will against each other. However, the video shared by NSUI with allegation of harassment is tampered with, and is being used with mala fide intentions,â€ť Nidhi Tripathi, the National General Secretary of ABVP said in a statement.
However, Balaji has tweeted saying the family has been under tremendous pressure and since the doctorâ€™s services were needed during a pandemic, the family would be fine if he underwent cognitive behavioural therapy.