The Chennai police have arrested two DMK members for sexually assaulting a woman police officer during a party's event that held last week. The arrest has come after a controversial turn where a sitting DMK MLA intervened in the matter and spoke on behalf of the accused party members, which led the victim to take back her complaint.
On December 31, a woman constable from the Virugambakkam police was among a team of police officers who was deployed to the DMK's party event that held in Dasarathapuram. The event was organized to mark the centenary birth anniversary of late DMK stalwart, K Anbazhagan, who was DMK's long-term general secretary. The event was attended by senior DMK leaders including MPs Kanimozhi and Thamizhachi Thangapandian.
Virugambakkam DMK MLA Prabhakara Raja was also present in the event that seen the attendance of hundreds of DMK functionaries. Later during the meeting, two members of DMK's youth wing, Praveen and Egambaram were drunk and sexually harassed a woman police constable. While they were molesting the woman constable, a male police officer noticed the shocking incident and detained one of the two accused, while the other accused fled the spot.
Hours later, the police had arrested the fled accused. After being harassed, the woman constable lodged a complaint against the two DMK members only to withdrew it later. She took back her complaint on January 2 after both the accused Praveen and Egambaram issued an apology letter at the Koyambedu Deputy Commissioner's Office in which the accused claimed that the incident was unintentional and happened due to a huge crowd at the meeting.
MLA Prabhakara Raja intervened in the matter and allegedly asked the police not to proceed with the matter. It has also been reported that the affected woman constable had withdrawn her complaint due to pressure. However, when the incident came to light, the DMK and the MLA had a furious attack from the opposition with ADMK leader Edappadi Palaniswami urging to take action against the accused and said that the incident raised issues of women's safety in Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu BJP President Annamalai had termed the incident disgraceful and slammed the DMK for preventing the police from arresting the accused. Expelled ADMK general secretary VK Sasikala had also asked how this DMK government can give protection to the state if it is failing to control its own members. As the outrage against the government had grown, the Chennai police have arrested the two accused DMK members on Tuesday.
The police have registered a case against Praveen and Egambaram under sections 353 - assaulting a public servant and 354- sexual harassment of the IPC, along with provisions of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act. The two accused have been set to judicial custody and the DMK had also suspended both the accused from the party. Temporarily suspending the basic membership of the accused with the party, DMK's general secretary Duraimurugan said that the accused have brought disrepute to the party.