The newly amended POCSO Act has just come into force and it has already got its first accused. A lawyer associated with the BJP, has been accused of sexual harassment of a 9 year old girl. The shameful incident took place on Sunday in Tamil Nadu. The 9-year-old girl, along with her family, was on-board a Thiruvananthapuram-Chennai train, where the child was allegedly sexually harassed.
According to media reports, the accused boarded the train from Coimbatore and the incident took place between Coimbatore and Erode. He has been identified as KP Prem Ananth and is a lawyer in the Madras High Court. He had also contested the 2006 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections from RK Nagar constituency on BJP ticket.
An FIR has been registered and the accused has been booked for sexual assault under the newly amended POCSO Act.
According to The Indian Express, the 56-year-old accused carried the identity card of Madras High Court Advocates’ Association and did not have a reservation. “He had an ordinary ticket. But he got on a reserved compartment and occupied a berth opposite to where the child and her family was sleeping,” said an official. “We have spoken to the other passengers. When he was nabbed by the passengers, he threatened them by saying that he is a lawyer and well-connected in BJP. He was handed over to railway police at Erode,” said the official.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Tamil Nadu BJP president Tamilisai Soundararajan said Ananth does not currently hold any key position in the party at the state level and added that she is not aware if he was active locally. “I am told that he was not active. Whatever it is, being a BJP member or a politician is not a label, it is meant for service. If this crime has happened, he should be getting the maximum punishment on par with the latest ordinance. If someone with a BJP link commits a crime, it doesn’t mean that party will tolerate that. We will not tolerate such crimes or criminals,” she said.