The secretary of the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club in Kerala was arrested by police Thursday on charges of house-trespass, rioting and assaulting a woman with intent to outrage her modesty among others.
The Pettah police took into custody M Radhakrishnan, who works as a proof reader with a Malayalam daily in Thiruvananthapuram, from the press club premises five days after his female colleague filed a complaint against him for barging into her house last week and enforcing ‘moral policing.’
He has been charged under sections 143,147,451,323,342,354 and 149 of the IPC which includes nonbailable offences, an officer at the Pettah police station confirmed. Sub-inspector Gopakumar said the accused was taken for a medical examination and will be produced before a magistrate Friday morning.
The Tvm Press Club Secretary just got arrested. This happened only because a bunch of women journalists from @NWM_India stood together. He barged into the house of our colleague, moral policed and assualted her. If you touch one of us, we wil retaliate. No longer your fiefdom pic.twitter.com/x5Vm9RbnYB
— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) December 5, 2019
According to the victim’s complaint, Radhakrishnan, who stays in the same neighborhood as her, gathered a few men and barged into her house late on November 30, enquiring about a man who had just visited her house. Though the woman journalist explained that he was a family friend, Radhakrishnan allegedly accused her of indulging in ‘immoral activity’.
The petitioner’s young children were present at the time. Radhakrishnan’s men are also accused of dragging the victim’s male friend to the house and assaulting him. In the scuffle that followed, the accused also shoved and pushed the victim. At the time of the incident, the victim’s husband, also a journalist, was working late.
Following the victim’s complaint, the Network of Women in Media (NWMI) shot off letters to the chief minister and the state women’s commission demanding action against Radhakrishnan. The organisation said that it was a malicious attempt to impose a medieval and misogynistic moral code on working journalists. Members of the NWMI also began a protest at the press Club Thursday morning demanding his arrest and ouster from the collective.
The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has suspended him pending an inquiry by a five member panel. The newspaper where the accused works has also begun an internal investigation.