The complainant says she was slapped by Ibrahim Shabbir at Panambra in Kerala’s Malappuram on April 16, but the police have been lax in the case because of his political links. Police say the accused was arrested on April 23.

Screenshot of a video of a Kerala woman being beaten up in public Screenshot
news Crime Sunday, April 24, 2022 - 18:28

More than a week after she was chased down and beaten in public by a man at Panambra in Kerala’s Malappuram district, a 27-year-old woman has alleged laxity on the part of the police due to the accused person’s alleged political connections. The incident took place around 4.30pm on April 16, as Asna was riding a scooter from Kozhikode to Malappuram with her younger sister Hamna on the pillion. At one point, a car began to chase the sisters and attempted to overtake them in such a way that their two-wheeler would have taken a hit, Asna told Asianet News. “When I reacted, the driver (accused Ibrahim Shabbir) stopped the car, got out and slapped me in public,” she said, further alleging that though the police registered a case based on their complaint, they did not act diligently and instead let the accused off. The police, however, told TNM that they have followed due process in the case and showed no favour towards the accused.

“It was when we reacted to their rash driving that they overtook our scooter and stopped suddenly. Our vehicle would have rammed their car if I had not promptly hit the brakes,” Asna, who hails from Parappanangadi in Malappuram, told Asianet News. Asna and her sister had no idea who the people in the car were or why they were chasing them, she said. A video of the incident, which has been aired by several television channels, shows a man slapping Asna more than twice while her sister tries to stop him. Later, the men can also be seen climbing the divider to apparently beat the women again. By then, people had started to gather and record videos of the assault. “We were shocked and confused. The video was shot after I was beaten up. The people around us were also initially confused as to what was happening. By the time they started to record the incident, he had already assaulted me,” Asna, who is a professional working in Bengaluru, told TNM. 

The women had gone straight to the Thenhipalam Police Station. "As we had clicked photographs of the car, the police were quickly able to trace it using the registration number. They also summoned the men to the station. But police action has been slow since, which should be because the men are IUML (Indian Union Muslim League) workers,” she said.

Asna said they came to know that the men were League workers only after they returned home. "People in our family knew of these men. It was when people in the neighbourhood began suggesting a compromise in the case that we realised how influential these people were. If we arrive at a compromise now, they would go on to manhandle someone else, right? They think they can do anything because of their money and influence. It was with that confidence that he slapped me. The police told me that those men have lodged a counter complaint against me, claiming that I slapped him back. But everything that happened can be clearly seen in the video,” she told Asianet News.

Asna also accused the police of registering a weak FIR. "The police easily let off the men on bail and were not even listening to us properly. Those men were chasing us. The police could have slapped a charge of attempt to murder against them. Instead, the accused men were treated like VIPs at the station, while we were made to feel like the culprits instead. They made us wait for a long time. The police even told us that we should have been careful while driving. The FIR they registered does not reflect the harassment we faced. The police also asked us if we really wanted to go ahead with the complaint,” she added.

Meanwhile, investigating officer Varijakshan told TNM that the police had acted sincerely in the case. “The statement was recorded on April 18 and the accused was arrested on April 23. Some news reports said he was not arrested, which is false. We have no clue about his political affiliation. Before arresting someone, it is their address that we verify, not their affiliation. He has been charged with IPC sections 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt),” he said. Regarding the attempt to murder charge, he said that such an accusation was not made in the statement. “The police wouldn't have hesitated to impose that charge too if the complainant had told us so,” he added. 

Asna, nonetheless, is determined to go ahead with the case. "I was beaten in public. Despite the evidence, there is no action against the culprit. How could we go out on the road if this is how things are? I want them to get due punishment, so that it will be a lesson to others who think they can do anything they want to anyone. I will not step back from the case,” she said.

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Watch the video of Asna being beaten up in public 

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