A man in what seems to be police uniform is standing on the side of a road. It’s broad daylight – perhaps just before school starts or just after school ends, considering the number of students who are walking past. The man stretches his hands and scuttles left and right every time people walk past. And every time a woman or a minor girl passes by, he finds a way to touch her inappropriately. The entire sequence was caught on camera, over several minutes, by a bystander.
The video is of a traffic home guard named Sivakumar, on duty outside the Lourdes Matha Church in Thevara, Kochi on Tuesday, and the visuals have gone viral on social media platforms. Home guards are an auxiliary force to help the police – and standing as he was in uniform as he touched the women and minors he was supposed to be protecting, with practiced ease, the visuals have led to massive outrage among the people.
58-year-old Sivakumar from Elamakkara did not spare even young girls who were dressed in school uniforms. Two of the young girls in school uniform even turned back in shock after feeling Sivakumar’s hand brush against them, but upon looking back and seeing that he was a policeman in uniform, they either concluded that the touch must have been accidental, or choose to walk away without confronting him.
But despite the video going viral, Sivakumar has not been suspended; he has been relieved of his duties as a home guard traffic policeman, and returned to the fire and rescue services department from which he was temporarily recruited to the home guard. Cases have been filed against him under IPC 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and sections 7 and 8 of the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.
According to reports, after the video came to the attention of the city police commissioner, it has been recommended that Sivakumar be removed from the fire and rescue department services as well.