Student activist Valarmathi has alleged that three policemen harassed and assaulted her on Friday. She also alleged that she was arrested when she retaliated.
According to the police, Valarmathi was conducting a donation drive near the Chennai Central Railway station for the relief efforts in Kerala on Friday evening when the incident took place.
Valarmathi alleges that a police officer in plain clothes sexually assaulted her.
Narrating her version of events outside the police station, Valarmathi said, “After he pushed me only they (the other officers) came. I caught him by the collar. After I caught hold of him, they came running. Before we could restrain him, a few police officers in plain clothes came, surrounded him and pushed us away. We didn’t even know who he was. We asked, how dare you keep your hands on a woman’s breast? The police officers made sure that he was protected, they didn’t even let us near him. The public came forward to hit him and he ran. We ran behind him and he went and hid inside the Central police station. When we went outside the police station and called him out, they asked us, ‘will you dare to hit the police? Will you lay your hands on the police?’ (We said) first let that dog out. That’s when we got to know that he was a policeman. Until then we didn’t know. Was he in police clothes? Did he show us an ID card? What did he say? He didn’t say anything.”
Alleging that that there were no woman police officers at the spot, Valarmathi says, “They didn’t even allow us inside the police station. When we said that we wanted to lodge a complaint, they conducted a lathi charge on the people who came with us and dispersed them. We were waiting for half an hour. They hit us and dragged us to the jeep in front of everyone.”
Valarmathi says that in the police jeep, Inspector Sivaraj ordered the police officers to hit her.
Valarmathi, who was then arrested and produced before the magistrate says she was once again beaten up by police officers on the way back from court.
Speaking to TNM, an officer from the Periamet Police Station said, “She was collecting money in a few hundials for the Kerala floods. A senior police officer in mufti took pictures of their activities. They caught him, beat him up and broke his cell phone. So it became a big issue. The Assistant Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner were here only.”
The police have booked her under Indian Penal Code sections 143(Being member of an unlawful assembly), 147 (Punishment for rioting), 322 (Voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation).