As narrative of mob molesting wife falls flat, Jawan goes into hiding with spouse in Tamil Nadu

The police arrested Vinodh, the brother-in-law of the jawan, for cooking up the story that his sister was half-stripped and harassed by a mob.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Jun 17, 2023 | 1:24 PM Updated Jun 17, 2023 | 9:24 PM

As narrative of mob molesting wife falls flat, Jawan goes into hiding with spouse in Tamil Nadu

It was a fake narrative that sent the Tamil Nadu police on a wild goose chase.

Prabhakaran, a havildar with the Indian Army, and his wife have gone into hiding, days after he posted a video clip saying his wife was partially stripped and harassed by nearly 120 people at Padavedu village in Tiruvannamalai’s Polur taluk.

A preliminary investigation found the soldier’s narrative to be fake. The Tamil Nadu police have launched a search for the couple.

The soldier Prabhakaran’s brother-in-law Vinodh was arrested in connection with the incident.

The police said Prabhakaran cooked up the story as part of a conspiracy to exact revenge on a few others who were locked in a civil dispute with his wife’s family.

Prabhakaran and his wife Keerthy went into hiding after the police had punched holes in his narrative.

Related: Jawan seeks action against people who harassed his wife in TN

The fake narrative

On 10 June, a video of Prabhakaran, posted in Kashmir, surfaced on social media. He pleaded for action against nearly 120 people who half-stripped and harassed his wife.

He stated that the mob targeted Keerthy, who has been running a shop outside the Renukambal temple in the village.

Prabhakaran alleged that the local police failed to take action on his wife and family member’s complaint. He wanted the Tiruvannamalai Superintendent of Police to act against the mob.

“My wife, who runs a shop outside the Renukambal temple in the village, was attacked by more than 120 persons,” the army soldier explained in the video.

“The shop belongs to HR&CE (the Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments Department under the Tamil Nadu government). The shop was vandalised by a mob and my wife was injured in the attack. Her nose and ears were bleeding after the attack,” he added.

The police launched a probe after the video had gone viral. They found Prabhakaran’s complaint to be false. Keerthy’s family, including her father Selvamoorthy, had a civil dispute with one Ramu over a leased shop.

The police said no one had attacked or harassed Keerthy or her mother.

However, their shop was ransacked by a mob after Keerthy’s brother knifed Ramu’s son. The police also said that the issue was blown out of proportion.

Also read: Tamil Nadu BJP begins hunger strike over jawan’s murder

Police arrest Prabhakaran’s kin

The incident soon took a political colour, with Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai, a former IPS officer, condemning the incident after speaking to the havildar, “who is bravely serving our country in Kashmir”.

Even as the video triggered widespread outrage, a fact-checking website, YouTurn, released an audio conversation, purportedly between Prabhakar and his brother-in-law Vinodh.

Prabhakaran was heard instructing Vinodh about how to go about the fake narrative.

In the audio clip, Prabhakaran was heard explaining his plans to orchestrate a statewide protest using political parties. He insisted that the family members should stick to the narrative, and advised Vinodh to exaggerate it during the police inquiry. Vinodh consented.

The police found the audio to be authentic and arrested Vinodh on the charges of conspiracy and remanded him.

Meanwhile, the state Women’s Commission had taken cognizance of the issue. On Friday, 16 June, Commission Chairperson AS Kumari met Keerthy at a hospital where she was admitted following the alleged attack.

Later, Prabhakaran, who reportedly came on leave, took Keerthy away from the hospital and absconded with her. A search is on to find the couple and Keerthy’s brothers, Jeeva and Udaya, the police said.

Also read: K Ponmudy slams TN Governor’s remarks on jawan killing

Second incident involving a jawan

In February, a jawan, also named Prabhakaran, was killed in the Pochampalli village of the Krishnagiri district which led to the arrest of eight persons, including a DMK Ward councillor of Nagojanahalli town panchayat, Chinnasamy (50).

According to police, the dispute arose between them as the jawan’s family was washing clothes in the common water tank located outside the panchayat office.

Later, Councillor Chinnasamy, who is also a relative of the jawan went with his family and the altercation ended up in an attack. After two days, the jawan succumbed to injuries at the hospital.

The issue was taken up by the BJP and other right wing organisations who attacked the ruling DMK for its inability to protect those who protect the nation.

Several protests were conducted against the DMK led government, including a one-day hunger strike. Even Governor RN Ravi intervened in the matter.