Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan launched a scathing attack on the AIADMK-led Tamil Nadu government over the Pollachi sexual assault case, stating that the way the government has handled the case is ‘careless and complacent.’
In a four-minute video uploaded on social media, Makkal Needhi Maiam leader Kamal Haasan said, “When the world joined together to raise their voice against the violence inflicted on Nirbhaya, the Honourable CM of Tamil Nadu issued a statement saying, “Crimes inflicted on women will be considered very serious crimes and the highest cadre of Policemen will investigate the case.” How can the Government following the footsteps of that woman (former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa), be so careless and complacent in this case?”
In the video, Kamal Haasan begins by talking about the video of the sexual assault that went viral and said that the survivor’s voice keeps reverberating in his ears every time he closes his eyes. Kamal Haasan questioned the present government on its lethargy in handling the case.
“Every father who has a daughter is terrified now, how are you not? The meticulous effort that goes into claiming that there is no connection between the accused and the party hasn’t gone in assuring the people that the government will ensure that the accused will be punished. Why?” he asked.
Haasan referred to the many times the SP, who was investigating the case, stated in a press meet that the accused had ‘no connection whatsoever’ with the AIADMK. The SP had also, in the same press meet, revealed the identity of the survivor in the case, leading to massive outrage. It was later said that the ‘slip’ was made ‘by mistake’ by the SP. Kamal Haasan stated that even though SP had made this grievous error, in total contradiction to a Supreme Court order, the government is silent on this.
The leader accused the AIADMK government of revealing the name of the survivor when he himself, in 2017, had revealed the name of the Malayalam actor who was abducted and sexually assaulted. When journalists covering that press meeting pointed out his mistake, he had said that ‘it doesn’t matter’ and that the media had already published her name. The media had, in fact, published her name before the charges against the accused were known. Once it was known that the charges included rape, the name of the survivor was retracted, as is required by law.
In the video statement released on Thursday night, Haasan went on to state that though the police claimed that the accused have deleted the videos from their phones, there are videos of assault doing the rounds now. “The police claim that the accused have deleted the video. If that is the case then how is the video out now? How did the video with the face blurred out get out? Who released it? For what reason?” he asked.
Slamming the state government on its handling of recent students’ protests across Tamil Nadu, where the police ended up manhandling students, Kamal Haasan said, “What have you, the ones who carry the photograph of the leader who assured the safety of women in your pockets, done for this injustice against women? Can I tell you? You have driven the students expressing their anger and their opposition towards the incident, away. You have tried to scare the women by using violence.”
Reiterating that he was not asking these questions as a politician, but as a father of two daughters, Kamal Haasan asked what the government intended to do, to set the record straight. “I am not asking as the President of Makkal Needhi Maiam but as the father of two daughters, what will you do to correct the injustice that has been inflicted through this crime? What is your answer to my sisters who are scared that you are in a way preventing other affected girls from complaining in the future by ‘leaking’ their videos?” he asked.
He went on to state that the action that the government takes against the accused will be a statement that will create a sense of assurance among the people that the government has women’s safety as its priority and will not spare anyone who violates that. Referring to the Mahabharata and Ramayana, saying they were based on wars fought to avenge the dishonour of a woman, Kamal Haasan asked what the government was going to do to avenge the black mark that has fallen on the legacy of Jayalalithaa in this issue.