In a horrifying case of moral policing in Kerala’s Kollam district, a 34-year-old woman was accosted, attacked and brutally injured by a gang of 4 men in Pathanapuram.
The victim has been identified as Shalini, a widow, a domestic worker and mother of 2 children from Pathanapuram. On the day of the assault, Shalini was talking to a male relative of hers outside her house in Pathanapuram. Watching this, another relative of hers along with 3 other goons accosted the duo and questioned them. They even barged into Shalini’s house and physically assaulted her, inflicting injuries on her head and eye.
Soon after this, the 34-year-old was admitted to the Pathanapuram Taluk hospital for treatment. The local police filed an FIR against the gang of 4 for the moral policing, harassment and violence.
The accused men have been identified as Vineeth, Vinod, Anu and Dileep. They live in the same neighbourhood as Shalini. The 34-year old earns a livelihood for her family through domestic work.
“Some neighbours of mine are creating a lot of trouble for me by making false claims that random men were visiting my house. I have to stay in my house with my children. I have a daughter. If I am being attacked so much, I have no guarantee that tomorrow these people will not tear apart my daughter,” Shalini told local media, her voice breaking as she explained her plight.
The Pathanapuram police have registered a case against the accused under non-bailable sections of the IPC, including section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty). However, the four accused are absconding after the incident came to light and the police booked them.
This is not the first incident of moral policing that Kerala has witnessed in recent times.
In December 2019, M Radhakrishnan, secretary of the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club broke into the house of a female colleague even when her two children were present in the house, harassed and even allegedly assaulted her. Radhakrishnan had brought with him a group of people and had even dragged along a male friend of the woman who had left her house after paying her a visit. He then insinuated that the woman and her male friend were in a relationship.
Following this, the woman along with her husband, who was away when the incident took place, filed a complaint against Radhakrishnan. After sustained protests by a group of women journalists from Thiruvananthapuram, Radhakrishnan was ousted from his post as press club secretary.