Pollachi sexual abuse case: Students call off protest after assurance of no action against detainees
Students of the Coimbatore Government Law College called off their sit-in protest on Wednesday after the administration assured them they would persuade police to drop charges against students who had sought justice for the victim in the Pollachi sexual abuse matter.
A gang of four men had, on February 12, allegedly tried to strip a 19-year-old woman inside a car near Pollachi in Coimbatore district, shot a video of the act and blackmailed her using the visuals. The incident triggered outrage amid reports that more women had been assaulted by the gang.
To this end, more than 100 students of the law collage had been on the protest since Tuesday evening.
Gopalakrishnan, principal of the law college, assured the students the college would not initiate any disciplinary action against the students for staging protest.
"We will take every effort to persuade the police to drop the charges against students as it would affect their future. But our hands are tied now due to elections. Once elections are over we will definitely talk to the police and see what can be done," he said.
The protesting students said they would exercise caution and for now, just temporarily give up their protest in belief that the administration would help them.
"The sections under which the students have been charged make it impossible for them to register themselves as advocate in the Bar Council once they finish the course. We condemn the high handedness of the state government," Balamurali, a third year student said.
The above-mentioned students, 200 in number, on March 14, staged a 'road roko' protest in Vadavelli, demanding stringent punishment for the accused in the case. The students were detained by police and later let off.
However, based on the complaint of the village administrative officer, the police pressed charges against 17 final year students under sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging duties).
The Madras High Court, meanwhile, has directed the Tamil Nadu government and the CBI to file their replies on a petition seeking a court-monitored probe into the Pollachi sexual harassment case.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani and Justice M Duraiswamy gave the direction when the petition by an advocate came up for hearing.
It then posted the petition to April 10 for further hearing.
Petitioner P Pugalenthi referred to the Tamil Nadu government order transferring the case to the CBI based on a recommendation by the state DGP.
In Pollachi, almost all shops and other commercial establishments Tuesday downed shutters in support of a call given by various organisations seeking a court-monitored probe into the harassment case.