As varied versions, rumours create confusion, the state government recommends transfer of the case to CBI
In a day of hectic developments in the Pollachi sexual abuse case, the state government dived in to correct course, by recommending transfer of the case to the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation).
Earlier on Tuesday, the case was transferred to the CB-CID (Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department) wing of the Tamil Nadu police.
In the meanwhile, the victim issued an audio statement in which she stressed that “vested interests have politicised the case” and that “no one from the ruling party is involved.”
This comes a day after her brother had released a similar video debunking rumours that alleged involvement of the AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam). (Read about this here.)
One of the four accused in the case – Thirunavukkarasu – had in an audio clip released on Monday said that “many people are involved in this”. He reiterated his innocence in the audio clip. This has added grist to the rumour mills.
There is also confusion over the claims of the brother of the victim that he and his friends had beaten up the four accused on at least two separate occasions between February 12 (when the crime took place) and February 24 (when the FIR was lodged).
Local police say that when they noticed the fight between the two groups of young men, they intervened and only after that was a complaint filed. It is unclear as to whether the victim had attempted to file a complaint before February 24.
Amid unsubstantiated reports and claims that “hundreds of videos” have been recovered from the mobile handsets of those arrested, Coimbatore SP R Pandiarajan at a press meet on Monday stated that only four video clips were recovered and denied rumours in social media that claimed otherwise.
Rumour Mongering On Social Media
Social media is abuzz with stories around the Pollachi sexual abuse case in which unsubstantiated rumours and vicious political attacks are being hurled at will. The result has been panic, misinformation, confusion, claims and counterclaims, turning the case into a mangled maze.
Sifting through this for the right information has become a challenge even as political parties have put the onus on police and the media to stop the cacophony around the case.
Earlier on Tuesday BJP Mahila Morcha leader S Vanathi Seenivasan met the Coimbatore District Superintendent of Police and later told media – “Regarding the Pollachi sexual abuse case we have seen a lot of news and information that have been circulated in the social media that hundreds of women have been affected by this and some of the accused have been arrested. Today on behalf of BJP Mahila Morcha, we have given a representation to the district SP requesting him to advise the media not to publish the names and photographs of the victims and also that a separate women officer has to be appointed and an email ID and WhatsApp number has to be publicly circulated to the people.”
Speaking about claims of political involvement in the case, Seenivasan said – “We have requested the SP to take action against the persons involved in this crime without being influenced by any of the political parties.”
She emphasised that “immediate action needs to be taken against the persons who are circulating messages through WhatsApp groups and particularly in social media. Police advisory has to be issued to people not to circulate these kinds of messages.”
Meanwhile in Chennai Makkal Needhi Maiam’s chief Kamal Haasan met reporters after handing over a representation regarding the Pollachi sexual abuse case to the DGP.
When asked about how he viewed allegations that the SP had prematurely said that there was no political involvement in the crime without even investigating the incident thoroughly, Haasan said – “A big officer here (referring to the DGP) has said that he will ensure such things do not happen. Some smaller officer there (Coimbatore) may have said something like that. I do not want to lay the blame on anyone. But if law and order is not being maintained, it is our responsibility to ensure that it is set right.”