The Pollachi rape case has rocked the state of Tamil Nadu to its core. In the first week of March, the Tamil Nadu government has carelessly revealed the name and details of the rape victim in a press conference in two separate incidents. The Government Order (GO) also gave out details of the college where the victim was studying and also revealed the name of her brother.
This GO has violated the law, according to which any information related to the victim cannot be disclosed. Neither the government authorities nor the law officials or the media can disclose any pieces of information. These laws are in place to protect the victim from harassment which she would eventually face at the hands of her family, friends and society in general.
However, this is not the first time that the authorities let slip the name of the victim. On March 1, Coimbatore SP R Pandiarajan, in an interview mentioned the name of the victim. If this wasn't enough, the police had given a statement to the press which contained the details of the victim, including her name, her educational background and where she stayed. The image of the statement is making its rounds on social media.
The law bans naming of victims
Name of any rape victim cannot be disclosed, according to law. The police are also not allowed to reveal the name of the victim even if the concerned people have given permission. The cases here include offences under Sections 376, 376A, 376B, 376C or 376D of the Indian Penal Code. These include all sexual offences. However, many feel that the Pollachi rape case comes under Section 354A (sexual harassment), 354B (assault or use of criminal force against a woman with intent to disrobe) of the Indian Penal Code. Basic ethics tell us that it is not the right thing to reveal the name and details of the victims.
The victim has sent a petition to the Coimbatore District Collector. The letter asked them to help her to protect her identity since she did not want to be the subject of mocking.
The petition, which was published by The News Minute read, "Sir, nobody, including political parties, media and electronic media, should use my name based on what happened to me. If they do, they are adding to my mental trauma and humiliation. They are, thereby, responsible for the consequences of such actions. The justice I deserve should not be re-directed by political parties for their political opportunism. They should not hamper justice. I humbly request that action be taken on those spreading false messages regarding this."
The petition was submitted on Tuesday, March 12.
The Pollachi Rape Case
In February this year, the 19-year-old victim was forcefully disrobed and filmed by four men in Pollachi in Tamil Nadu. Sabarirajan, one of the accused along with Thirunavukkarasu, another accused asked the 19-year-old victim to get into their car saying that they wanted to talk to her.
When she got into the car, the trio was joined by Sathish and Vasanthkumar. The men took the victim to an isolated location, removed her clothes and filmed her. They then threatened her that the videos would be circulated if she did not do as they said, including providing them with sexual favours and money.
This continued for a few days before the victim told her family members when the situation got out of control. Her brother had tracked and beat them up and found out the exact details of the incident. He then lodged a complaint with the Pollachi police. During his altercation with the assaulters, her brother also took their phones which contained videos of his sisters and at least three other women.
Upon investigation, the police discovered that the men could have been carrying out this racket for at least seven to eight years. Other evidence suggests that there could be a political hand in the situation as well.