The Thiruvananthapuram Press Club on Thursday expelled former Secretary M Radhakrishnan, who was arrested for barging into the house of a woman colleague and abusing her, from the preliminary membership. The General Body of the Press Club that convened in the morning unanimously took the decision.
The General Body meeting considered a letter sent by Radhakrishan explaining his version of the incident which in effect turned out to be another attempt to shame the victim. Radhakrishnan had also requested the mail to be considered as his explanation on the incident. The meeting accepted this letter as the explanation.
“Radhakrishnan committed a criminal offence that destroyed the image of the journalists and that of the Press Club. He has also engaged in activities that consistently humiliate the complainant as well as other women journalists. The General Body examined his mail and from the explanation it was found that the crime committed by him was grave. Considering this, too, he has been expelled from the preliminary membership of the Press Club,” a release issued by the Press Club said.
There are nearly 500 members in the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club, and of them 150 were present for the meeting. As per the bye-laws of the Club the minimum quorum required is 77.
The General Body meeting also decided to reconstitute the Internal Committee set up by the Press Club to probe the incident, as there has been allegation of bias from the previous Committee.
On November 30, Radhakrishnan along with a group of people barged into a woman journalist’s home at night while she was alone in the house with her children. The group abused and moral policed the woman journalist, and also assaulted a male friend of the woman for visiting her. The moral policing act of Radhakrishnan lasted for over an hour. The Pettah police registered a case based on the complaint of the woman. Radhakrishan was arrested on December 6.
Network of Women in Media, Kerala Chapter has been at the forefront of the protest demanding the arrest and removal of Radhakrishnan from the post as Secretary of the Press Club.
Radhakrishnan, the woman and her male friend work with the same Malayalam daily. The daily and the Kerala Union of Working Journalists have suspended him and an inquiry is pending at both the places.
The Press Club however had been adamant about not taking any action against him. In a Managing Committee meeting of the Press Club held on December 6, the Club justified not taking any action against him claiming Radhakrishnan had expressed willingness to keep away from the post.
On Monday, December 9, following a protest by the NWMI, General Secretary of the Press Club Sabloo Thomas who had been given charge of the Secretary, suspended Radhakrishnan from the post of Secretary and from preliminary membership.
The General Body also suspended PR Praveen, a journalist working with an online media, for six months for engaging in victim shaming.