Coimbatore

Hunt on for hostel owner, warden on charges of harassing women

They attempted to give the women soft drinks spiked with liquor

Peelamedu police are on the look out for a women's hostel owner Jaganathan and warden Punitha on charges of harassing a few occupants.

Complaint

The police said that based on a complaint from Rajendran, a person who lives in the hostel’s neighbourhood, they had charged the two under Section 75 (1) (c) of the Tamil Nadu City Police Act (penalty for drunkenness or riotous behaviour in public places), 506 (ii) of the Indian Penal Code (criminal intimidation) and Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act (harassing women in public places).

The charge against the two was that on the pretext of celebrating her birthday, Punitha, aged over 30, took five girls to a restaurant near Town Hall and tried to give them soft drinks spiked with liquor at the parking lot. The girls had resisted her attempts.

She then took the girls to the restaurant on the sixth floor, where Jaganathan had joined them. There again Punitha attempted to give them beer and Jaganathan attempted to misbehave them. The girls resisted their attempts and on the pretext of having to complete their project work, they left the place.

This happened on July 19 (Thursday) afternoon. After the girls returned to the hostel on Jeeva Street, near Hope College Junction, they shared their experience with other occupants and also with their parents.

As the word spread, the parents went there to question the two. The people in the neighbourhood also got wind of what had happened. The police said as neither the girls nor their parents lodged a complaint, the neighbour, Rajendran, came forward to lodge it. The neighbours also were unhappy with the way the hostel functioned, the police said.

Based on their inquiries, the police said around 150 students and a few working women stayed at the hostel, which had a capacity to accommodate nearly 190 persons. The girls were from Cuddalore, Tiruvarur, Vellore and a few other districts.

Jaganathan had started this hostel a year ago and he had another hostel on Vilankurichi Road near Thanneerpandal Junction. Said to be a native of Erode, he had settled in Coimbatore several years ago. Punitha was a native of Mettupalayam.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), S. Lakshmi, said the police had to register a case on Rajendran's complaint because no girl or parent was willing to lodge a complaint.

She also said that the Peelamedu police had formed two special teams to nab Jaganathan and Punitha.

District Social Welfare Officer Thangamani on Tuesday inspected the hostel. She did not respond to calls from The Hindu.

The hostel management also did not respond to calls and messages from The Hindu.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 11:24:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/hunt-on-for-hostel-owner-warden-on-charges-of-harassing-women/article24507001.ece

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