Two minor survivors of sexual assault who have complained against Special Public Prosecutor Indira Gandhi of the Sivaganga Mahila Court, will be giving their statements before the magistrate on Friday. The two girls, aged 13 and 14 now, will be recording their statement on how the SPP allegedly threatened them to make false statements in court and deny that they were raped by their headmaster, Murugan, in 2015.
The alleged incidences of sexual assault by the headmaster first came to light when the grandmother of a student from the fourth standard approached the police alleging that the headmaster had raped her. Upon further enquiry, police found that five other girls too had been subjected to sexual abuse. However, when the case came for trial to the Mahila court in 2016, the survivors turned hostile. In July 2019, when the police were reviewing pending POCSO cases in court, they began to investigate why this particular case was heading towards an acquittal despite sufficient evidence.
On enquiring with the girls, they found that the SPP had allegedly threatened them against revealing the truth in court. She had in fact spoken to all the survivors individually, with the headmaster allegedly present in the room. Murugan too had allegedly approached the survivors to convince them against repeating their statements in court. Based on the complaints of three of the survivors who were willing to continue fighting the case in court, the police filed an FIR with Murugan as the accused and the SPP named in the complaint.
"She (the SPP) has been added as an accused already. Her anticipatory bail was denied by the court last week," a senior police official tells TNM. "The same sections used for the accused will apply to her as well - Section 195A of the Indian Penal code read with the Atrocities against Scheduled Communities/Scheduled Tribe Act," he added.
Section 195 A refers to the threatening of any person to give false evidence.
Speaking to TNM, Sherin Bosko of Nakshatra, an NGO which works with child sexual abuse survivors, says, "This time, the children will give the 164 statement (Statement to Magistrate) bravely in court. They have ours and the police's support and we hope that the concerned SPP will be arrested. This case should set a precedent in Tamil Nadu and ensure that government advocates do not jeopardise justice for minor survivors," she adds.
The police are confident that once the survivors give their statements in court, the accused SPP, Indira Gandhi, will be arrested.