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Six months after 3 women sexually harassed by former municipal commissioner in Tiruppur, Kangeyam AWPS file FIR

On March 3, 2022, AWPS (Kangeyam) registered an FIR against Muthukumar. Meanwhile, he was transferred to Thiruthuraipoondi and then to Kalakkad in the Tirunelveli district.

Published: 07th March 2022 10:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th March 2022 10:01 AM   |  A+A-

Rape, crime against woman

The man had allegedly sexually abused several women after promising to marry them.

Express News Service

TIRUPPUR: Six months after three sanitation workers had been sexually harassed by a municipal commissioner, an FIR was filed by the  All Women Police Station (Kangeyam) on Thursday (March 3). The district court had to intervene and direct Tiruppur police to register a sexual harassment case against the former Kangeyam Municipality Commissioner six months after the victims lodged the complaint. The accused was transferred but the victims who mustered the courage to expose him have been terminated from service.

The case pertains to a complaint lodged by three sanitation workers against former Kangeyam Municipality Commissioner M Muthukumar. On September 21, 2021, Poornima, Vinetha and Kaveri (all names changed) submitted a petition to the Tiruppur District administration and AWPS (Kangeyam) stating that Muthukumar had called them to his residence for cleaning work and sexually harassed them.

Narrating her experience, Poornima said, “Many women are deployed as domestic breeding checkers on a temporary basis by Kangeyam Municipality in the last eight years. On August 23, 2021, I was asked by my supervisor, Karthikeyan, to clean the entrance of Muthukumar’s house in Sakthi Nagar. Since he was the municipal commissioner, I couldn’t refuse. A few workers went to the place and he told me to clean toilets on the first floor. When I went upstairs, he asked details of my caste and physical relationship with my husband. I was shocked and did not answer. I finished the work and tried to leave but he grabbed my hands and attempted to sexually harass me. I warned him and ran out of the house. Fearing stigma and loss of livelihood, I did not reveal this to anyone. A few days later, I told about the incident to colleagues  Vinetha and Kaveri. They said he had misbehaved with them also. So, we decided to teach him a lesson and shared our experience with all sanitation workers and our supervisors. With the help and moral support from my friends, we decided to fight the top official of the town,” she added. Explaining the legal tussle, she said, “We lodged a petition in Tiruppur Collectorate on September 22, 2021. The next day, an official from District Administration conducted an inquiry, but no action was taken against him. We staged a protest in front of Kangeyam Municipality and tried to lodge a complaint with AWPS (Kangeyam) a number of times. But Muthukumar threatened us claiming to have political influence.  With help from social activists, we approached the court.”

On March 3, 2022, AWPS (Kangeyam) registered an FIR against Muthukumar. Meanwhile, he was transferred to Thiruthuraipoondi and then to Kalakkad in the Tirunelveli district.

Dalit Liberation Movement (DLM) secretary D Karuppiah told TNIE, “This is a clear case of prolonged delay, for three victims who are from poor family backgrounds. Since these were civil procedures, we couldn’t get an immediate solution, we had to file an application in Tiruppur Principal Sessions Court in January 2022 and received a court order on February 21, 2022, to register the case against M Muthukumar. AWPS (Kangeyam) registered cases against him under various sections of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe(Atrocities) Act 1989 and Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2013. Apart from this, the victims along with several other workers were dismissed from service in September 2021. But, after a fight with local administration, they were reinstated in February 2022.”

Deputy Superintendent of Police (Dharapuram) R Dhanarasu refused to comment on the delay in registering the case. “As per the court order, we have booked a case of M Muthukumar and his worker Karthikeyan. There will be a complete enquiry on the sequence of the incident,’ he added.



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