Kerala activist arrested for requesting people to contribute women's underwear to flood relief camp
Raghu Eraviperur was arrested on Sunday by the Kerala police and later released on bail following a woman councillor filed a complaint against his Facebook post, which she claimed to be "derogatory."
Massive protests erupted on social media after a Kerala Dalit activist was arrested over his Facebook post requesting people to donate undergarments for women staying at a flood relief camp in Pathanamthitta district's Thiruvalla.
Kerala police took Raghu Eraviperur into custody on Sunday and later released him on bail following a woman councillor filing a complaint against his Facebook post, which she claimed to be "derogatory." He was booked under Sections 119 (b) and 120 (o) of Kerala Police Act pertaining to degrading women on a public platform and causing a nuisance through letter, email or email or messenger respectively.
Raghu had visited St Thomas Higher Secondary School at Eruvallipra near Thiruvalla, which was working as a relief camp along with his wife and a friend. After interacting with the councillor and some of the people residing at the camp, they understood that the women weren't having any clothes to change. He posted a Facebook status requesting his followers to contribute underwears to the women in the camp. Later that evening, the cops arrived at his doorsteps and arrested him.
The complainant also alleged that Raghu's post also carried the photo of a woman along with it. However, he declined this accusation and added that the post, which was removed on the request of the cops, was only a few sentences long.
Soon after the news of his arrest broke, many voiced their protest against the police action. Many pointed out the role people like Raghu had played in organising collection points to collect and send materials to relief camps, which is crucial for the welfare of the inhabitants of the camps. It is a shame that men are accused of talking about women's undergarments in public, months after conducting a statewide women's wall to celebrate the renaissance values of the state, they said.
"It was during the last year's flood, the so-called traditional men in Kerala started talking about sanitary napkins and panties without hesitation and understood it is an essential necessity for humans. But just after a year, we have a social worker who is arrested over his Facebook post seeking innerwear for women at a relief camp. Police acted very enthusiastically against a man of good intentions while lakhs of anti-socials who abuse women on the cyberspace roam free," senior journalist Sreejith Divakaran wrote on Facebook.