Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday announced a solatium of Rs 5 lakh for each of the four tribal women, who were allegedly raped by policemen in Villupuram district, and suspended five uniformed men. In a statement issued here, Jayalalithaa said she had ordered payment of Rs.500,000 each to the four tribal Irula women who complained of rape by policemen of Tirukoilur police station in the district.
"Severe action will be taken against the policemen if the charge against them is proved. Tirukoilur judicial magistrate is inquiring into the charge," Jayalalithaa said. She said the policemen - inspector Srinivasan, special sub-inspector Ramanathan, head constable Dhanasekaran, and constables Bakthavatchalam and Karthikeyan - were suspended when the preliminary inquiry revealed that the four women were kept in a police van at night.
On Nov 22, police received a complaint from Lakshmi, one of the arrested women, alleging rape by policemen. According to police, six men were picked up by Tirukoilur police for house-break and theft. The women alleged that eight policemen subsequently also picked up the four women, related to the men, for inquiry. According to the women, four policemen had raped them.
Two months back, a special court in the state had convicted 269 accused for atrocities against the Dalits and 17 for rape in what is known as Vachathi case. A team of police and forest department personnel indulged in loot, arson and rape in Vachathi village in Dharmapuri district in June 1992.