Four forest officials booked for harassing tribal women

July 29, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 06:17 am IST - Uthamapalayam/Theni

: After an enquiry conducted by Uthamapalayam Deputy Superintendent of Police Annamalai in the Surulipatti tribal women harassment case at Royappanpatti police station on Thursday, Uthamapalayam police registered cases against four forest officials – Cumbum Forest Range Ranger Sekar, Forester Prince and two unnamed staff.

Cases were filed against them under Sections 342, 294 (B), 354 and 379 of Indian Penal Code and Sections 3 (1) (E), 3 (1) (R), 3 (1) (S), 3 (1) (W1), 3 (2) (5A), 3 (2) (7) of SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, according to police sources.

Earlier, when Mr. Annamalai, along with women police officers, was conducting an enquiry with the five affected women and a child, members of various voluntary and human rights organisations staged a demonstration in front of Royappanpatti police station, demanding registration of cases against forest officials and their immediate arrest.

Periyakulam Revenue Divisional Officer Jamuna conducted her first round of enquiry with the affected women at Kadamalaigundu on Wednesday.

More than 15 tribal women had thronged the office of Theni Superintendent of Police on Monday, demanding action against the forest officials, who reportedly harassed the tribal women on July 16.

AIDWA’s demand

On Wednesday, all India vice-president of All India Democratic Women’s Association U. Vasuki demanded an inquiry by a DSP-level police officer into the charges and the immediate arrest of the forest officials.

Speaking to reporters near Theni, she said the affected women told her that the forest officials harassed a group of women and removed their dress – a 13-year-old girl was also among them – on the pretext of frisking them.

The forest officials seized their cash and mobile phones, and the tribal women, along with the girl, had to trek 40 km to reach home in the night.

Their husbands were arrested and remanded in judicial custody, they claimed. Ms. Vasuki demanded the police register cases under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and Child Harassment Act.

She also criticised the district administration for constituting an RDO enquiry without registering a case.

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