On Friday, a Thiruvananthapuram court rejected the anticipatory bail pleas of Malayalam dubbing artist Bhagyalakshmi and two other women activists who were accused of indicting a physical attack on an ‘abusive’ YouTuber.
The Additional Sessions Court Judge N Seshadrinathan had observed that “A civilized society is expected to obey the rule of law of the country so as to maintain peace, law and order and any attack to the said fabric is actionable and cannot be viewed lightly. No one can take the law into their hands on the strength of manpower or muscle power.”
The three women were earlier booked by Thampanoor police on charges of barging into the room of Vijayan. P. Nair, a Youtuber and assaulting him for ‘uploading’ a slanderous video purportedly about Bhagyalakshmi on his widely watched and highly controversial blog.
As per reports, on 26th September, the three accused barged into Vijay Nair’s room, slapped and abused him, and poured black oil on his face for making vulgar comments against one of them in particular and ‘feminists’ in general. The three women had further taken away his laptop and mobile phone. “We were constrained to resort to the drastic step as the complaint filed before police against Vijay Nair’s video failed to elicit any response,” stated the accused.
Nonetheless, after intense debates started sparking all over the social media over such behavior by the three accused, and on a complaint filed by Nair himself, the three were charged under Indian Penal Code Sections 452 (House-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 294 B (sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation), 392 (punishment for robbery), 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of the Indian Penal code).
During Friday’s hearing, Public prosecutor Vembayam Hakkim, who opposed the bail plea, termed the attack on Nair as an unlawful act of vendetta and personal payback. “The women had recorded the assault on camera, disseminated the footage widely on social media, and also shared it with television channels. Releasing the accused on bail could provoke copycat acts of vigilantism in society,” he argued.
Subsequently, the court came down on three accused i.e. Bhagyalakshmi, Diya, and Sreelakshmi, stating that no one should take law in their hands and that what happened was against our “culture”.
Further, the court noted that the attack was pre-planned and the accused committed house-trespass with a clear intention to cause hurt. “The petitioners have brought a nettle plant whose contact would cause itching on the human body. The petitioners’ intention is thus clear. They also brought an ink bottle so as to pour on him and thereby humiliate him by capturing the incident and they published the same through social and other media immediately after the attack with a malafide intention,” observed the court.
On the other hand, Vijay Nair was taken into custody in another FIR registered against him for offenses under the Information Technology Act 2000, for posting obscene videos.