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Friday, August 14, 2020

Woman accuses ABVP president of harassment over parking slot in Chennai

The incident reportedly followed a disagreement over parking slots at the housing society. The woman, who does not want to be identified, demanded payment for his use of a parking slot owned by her.

Written by Liz Mathew , Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: July 25, 2020 7:19:54 am
ABVP national president Dr Subbiah Shanmugam

A 62-year-old widow living alone in her apartment in Chennai city suburbs has filed a police complaint against ABVP national president Dr Subbiah Shanmugam, accusing him of harassment, including urinating and throwing used surgical masks at her doorstep.

The incident reportedly followed a disagreement over parking slots at the housing society. The woman, who does not want to be identified, demanded payment for his use of a parking slot owned by her. In her complaint, filed at the Adambakkam Police Station on July 11, the woman has attached CCTV footage and photos that purportedly show the ABVP leader urinating at her doorstep.

The issue came to light when the woman’s nephew, Balaji Vijayaraghavan, a stand-up comic and the founder of a platform that facilitates Carnatic music events, posted about the alleged incident and said the police were not helping his aunt.

Sources in the police admitted that no FIR has been registered on the woman’s complaint. “We have issued a receipt of the complaint,” said an officer.

Shanmugam, a professor and Head of the Department of Surgical Oncology at Kilpauk Medical College and Government Royapettah Hospital, said the complaint was false and the CCTV footage doctored. Alleging “ulterior motives” behind the charges, he told The Indian Express to contact the ABVP leadership for any further comments.

In a statement, ABVP national general secretary Nidhi Tripathi admitted there was an issue over parking slots between the woman and Shanmugam’s family. “The two families have discussed this… and (the housing society has) already concluded that the harassment allegations were caused due to a misunderstanding and are untrue.”

The ABVP threatened legal action on the “libelous” claims of the woman’s family.

In her complaint, the woman has said that Shanmugam had approached her for permission to use one of her two parking slots. When she demanded a “nominal” rent, she said, he got angry and first broke a signboard at the slot. She said he then kept calling her, including asking her whether she needed chicken despite knowing that she was a vegetarian. She said he had gone on to soil the entrance to her house, including with used surgical masks, garbage and muck.

Vijayaraghavan said he was shocked when his aunt told him about the incident. “If Shanmugam had admitted his mistake and apologised, we would have accepted it. We decided to file the complaint as he was reluctant to take any corrective steps. We had serious concerns about my aunt’s safety as well.”

ABVP media in-charge Rahul Choudhary said the CCTV footage was doctored, and accused ABVP rivals of trying to do “character assassination” of Shanmugam. “Despite several attempts by the Congress, the local media did not pay the woman’s complaints any attention. So they fabricated a video. We have the original clip and will hand it over to the police,” Choudhary told The Indian Express.

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