Mishandling of Pollachi case, Kerala nuns question delays, ‘10 years too late’

The 18 March edition of Note This — our round-up of media reports and opinions on sexual assault

The government, police and media in Tamil Nadu have come under fire for disregarding the privacy and dignity of a survivor in the Pollachi sexual assault case. Image is representative. Photo: Anh Le/Unsplash (CC0 1.0)

The Pollachi sexual assault case of Tamil Nadu was covered widely in the national media last week, following criticism of a regional bias against stories from the south. The Kerala priest case is also back in the news, with the nuns who protested against rape-accused former bishop Franco Mulakkal saying that they may hold another protest if charges are not filed soon.

Note: Next week onwards, we will be publishing Note This on Tuesday, instead of on Monday and Thursday.

Editor’s pick

“The media must start dealing with the whys of sexual violence, not just the what,” says filmmaker and activist Insia Dariwala. In an interview with NewsTracker’s Shreya Gautam, she also emphasises how raising awareness about male sexual abuse can help solve the larger problem of rape in India.

Across India: news since Thursday

The government of Tamil Nadu has been asked by the Madras High Court to pay Rs 25 lakh to a survivor in the Pollachi sexual assault case as compensation for “violation of her privacy, dignity and image”. The case involves the sexual assault, filming and extortion of several young women by a gang of men, some of whom have political connections.

In Firstpost, Gita Aravamudan writes about the devastating impact that the police’s revelations about the survivor could have on her and other survivors, while in Scroll, Sruthisagar Yamunan explains how “the state acted callously and flouted the law”.

The case has also brought media practices into focus — one, for the airing of sexual assault footage, and, two, for the regional bias of national outlets. In Firstpost, Shalin Maria Lawrence writes that Nakheeran, a Tamil investigative journalism magazine, “failed its duty by leaking rape video”, as did political parties that circulated it in a bid to “corner” the ruling party in the state. A news feature and podcast in the Quint also outline how the Pollachi case was “mishandled by the media and cops”.

Kerala priest case

In September 2018, former Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal was arrested for allegedly raping a nun multiple times. However, six months later, there is still no chargesheet in the case. The Kerala nuns who protested in support of the complainant have said in a petition to the police that they might be forced to agitate again because of the delay, and that as witnesses they live in “utmost fear and anxiety”, reported The News Minute. The police have now said that a chargesheet will be filed within this week. The Catholic church in Kerala has largely stood in support of Mulakkal and has been accused of taking “punitive measures” against the nuns and priests opposing him.

Meanwhile, a nun from another convent who had supported the agitation against Mulakkal has been asked to leave her congregation for violating the “principles of religious life”, including airing her views on social media.

“10 years too late”

The Supreme Court of India has refused to hear the plea of a woman who claimed that Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu raped her 10 years ago, recommending that she approach the high court instead. The Chief Justice of India observed, “It is difficult to say anything after 10 years. Even if we grant police protection, it would somewhat appear to give credence to your allegations,” reported the Times of India.

Assault of minors

In Delhi, a three-year-old-girl was allegedly raped by the father of her tuition teacher. The suspect has been arrested.

In Firozabad, Uttar Pradesh, an eight-year-old girl was reportedly sexually assaulted and strangled by a local. According to the FIR, reported the Times of India, the victim was last seen with the suspect (who is absconding) at a neighbourhood gathering.

In Sagar district, Madhya Pradesh, a sixth standard student was abducted and beheaded while she was on her way to school. The police suspect that she was sexually assaulted, reported The Deccan Chronicle.

Read more

This roundup is curated from the RSS feeds of more than 30 English news publications from across India.

See a fuller list of rape and sexual violence cases reported today, and earlier this week.

Use our case filter to read reports on specific cases: #MeToo, #KeralaPriest, #RapeOfMinors, #Muzaffarapur, #PoliticsOfRape (use the dropdown menu in column A).

Follow us

You can follow us on @maarnews for NewsTracker Originals and more. Or use the sign up link below to get Note This directly in your inbox!