‘Necessary actions taken’: CM Stalin on sexual harassment of woman cop by DMK members

The DMK in Tamil Nadu came under fire after a woman constable was sexually harassed by two party members while on duty at an event on December 31.
CM Stalin on sexual harassment of woman cop by DMK members
CM Stalin on sexual harassment of woman cop by DMK members
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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Wednesday, January 11, addressed the issue of a woman police officer who was sexually harassed by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) members on December 31. Responding to a question raised by Leader of Opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami, the Chief Minister said that all necessary actions were taken, and that a First Information Report (FIR) was filed by the R5 Virugambakkam police right after they received the woman’s complaint on the night of December 31.

CM Stalin told the Assembly that the police, who initiated the probe, arrested the accused — S Pravin Kumar and S Egambaram — on January 3. The accused were arrested on January 3 and were remanded the next day, he added. The two were booked under sections 353 (assaulting a public servant) and 354 (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code, along with section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act.

Addressing the Assembly, CM Stalin said that those involved in crimes against women will face stringent action. He also slammed the opposition All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) for failing to take action in crimes committed during their regime.

Responding to the AIADMK’s allegations, CM Stalin also listed out acts of violence that occurred during the AIADMK regime, including the 2018 Sterlite shooting, the Pollachi sexual assault and extortion case, the 2012 police shootout during which six Dalit people were killed, and others.

On December 31, the woman police officer filed a sexual harassment complaint against Pravin and Egambaram, who were functionaries of the DMK’s youth wing. They were allegedly inebriated and harassed her while she was on security duty at the centenary celebrations of former party general secretary K Anbazhagan in Dasarathapuram. One of the accused was immediately caught by another constable who was at the spot, while the other was nabbed later.

Meanwhile, DMK received backlash from opposition parties, as DMK MLA  AMV Prabhakar Raja reportedly intervened and asked the police not to make an issue of it. On January 2, after the intervention of MLA, the woman police officer withdrew her complaint after receiving a written apology letter from the accused. The MLA’s manager Meganathan and advocate Boopathy were at the Koyambedu police district Deputy Commissioner’s office representing the accused.

However, the MLA denied the allegations of influencing the case and told TNM, “If the functionaries intentionally misbehaved with a woman officer, the police department should take stringent actions against them. However, the police cannot simply press charges against them without any evidence, just because they were present at the spot when the incident happened,”.

It is to be noted that the action against Pravin and Egambaram was taken after the ruling DMK government received flak from opposition leaders over the issue. Following the sharp criticism, on January 3, DMK general secretary Duraimurugan announced that the duo were temporarily suspended from their posts and removed from the party's basic membership.

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