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Pollachi Sexual Abuse: DMK, AIADMK Politicising Sexual Harassment?
2019 Polls

Pollachi Sexual Abuse: DMK, AIADMK Politicising Sexual Harassment?

Anand Kumar

Anand Kumar

As both Dravidian majors trade barbs and allegations over involvement in the Pollachi sexual abuse case, others warn that the casualty could be justice itself

The row over the Pollachi sexual abuse case continues. The DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) held a protest in the town on Tuesday, March 12 despite being denied permission.

At the protest, Rajya Sabha MP and DMK Women’s Wing leader MK Kanimozhi said that the Pollachi sexual abuse case had made Tamilians hang their heads in shame.

“When we think of how much they are being troubled and what difficulties they are put through, every one of us is standing here with our heads hung in shame,” she said.

With the case being shifted to the Central Bureau of Investigation, the ruling AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) appears to have taken the edge off the allegations against them.

Speaking to The Lede, Deputy Speaker Pollachi Jayaraman said that the DMK was politicising the issue needlessly, despite all action being taken by the police and the ruling party.

“The DMK has deliberately made this a political issue,” said Jayaraman. “I am the one who represented to the police in February itself when the crime took place. At that time the DMK did not speak about the case. But now, due to political motives, the DMK is trying to drag us into the case after the election dates were announced. Pollachi has been an AIADMK stronghold for many years. Using this issue, the DMK is trying to make inroads. People should not believe this. Especially residents of Pollachi should not fall prey to these tactics,” he said.

In an attempt to shift the blame on rival DMK, Jayaraman added, “Local DMK worker Thendral Selvaraj’s son Manimaran is friends on Facebook with the key accused Thirunavukkarasu. Manimaran has wished Thirunavukkarasu on his birthday about two years ago. It is actually DMK which is trying to shield the real accused.”

The Lede contacted Thendral Selvaraj, a local DMK worker in Pollachi to find out his take on Jayaraman’s allegation.

“I have 5,000 friends on Facebook, similarly my son also has some 5,000 friends on Facebook,” said Selvaraj. “Both of us ensure that we wish people on their birthdays, many times without even knowing who they are. That is how my son has wished this accused. It is not just the DMK which is protesting here. All parties are protesting. One AIADMK worker was removed from the party since he was involved in the case. So it clearly shows that the AIADMK is involved in this.”

In the midst of the heated exchanges, the only voice of reason appears to be that of Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam. Dr R Mahendran, Vice President of Makkal Needhi Maiam told The Lede that this was hardly the time to play politics.

“This is an outcry from the people,” said Mahendran. “No political party should try to gain mileage out of this. For nearly 20 days, the people of Pollachi are in shock, not understanding what exactly has happened. Both these parties (DMK and AIADMK) are looking for political mileage. One party is saying this is our fortress – this is not the time to talk about fortress and stronghold. The criminals should be punished and we should ensure that such a thing does not happen again. That is most important.”

The Lede also contacted the victim’s family friend, Palanisamy, who had connected the victim to Pollachi Jayaraman. Palanisamy is a member of the Kongu Desiya Makkal Katchi, which is an ally of the AIADMK-led front for 2019.

“As soon as I heard about the crime, I contacted the Pollachi MLA,” Palanisamy told The Lede. “He asked us to come and meet him in person. He advised us to file a complaint and he helped us to file it too. The four people we have complained against have all been arrested and are in jail. There is now a hashtag saying #ArrestTheRapists in social media and also in the other media. Who has to be arrested? FIR was filed on February 24 itself and legal procedures are underway. We had actually planned to reach out to other victims and ask them to file complaints. But now that it has become politicised, the other victims are afraid to speak out. Politicising of such a case will go in favour of the accused because the other victims will not open up.”