Celebrity Kochi tattoo artist on the run after 18-year-old alleges rape

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The teenager’s ordeal was widely shared on other social media platforms and some more women came out speaking of similar experiences

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A social media post reportedly by an 18-year-old girl sharing her brutal sexual assault experience at a popular tattoo studio in the port city of Kochi has sparked a slew of charges against a celebrity tattoo artist who is currently on the run.

Kochi police commissioner CH Nagaraju said they contacted the survivor, but she sought more time to file a formal complaint. The police are gathering details of three others who raised similar complaints against the artist. Many women right activists have appealed to survivors to come out and lodge complaints so that it does not happen to others.

Narrating her bitter experience on Reddit (a social media platform), she said a week back she went to the popular studio to get a tattoo on her lower back. Since the studio was crowded, she sought some privacy. As the tattooing was in progress, the artist allegedly started making advances and when she protested, he brutally raped her after injecting a needle into her spine, she claimed in her post.

“I never thought the man will have the audacity to do something like this. I did not speak a word. I just felt like dying right there on the spot for being so stupid. I felt disgusted,” she wrote. The post was widely shared on other social media platforms and some more women came out speaking of similar experiences. A 23-year-old woman alleged in her post on Instagram that the accused molested her in a similar way two years ago when she went there to get a tattoo on her lower rib. Another woman alleged she was molested when she went to get a tattoo on her cleavage.

Police said the accused is a popular tattoo artist and he often shared his images with cinema artists and other VIPs to attract clientele.

“The studio and house of the accused are under observation. He is absconding. Once we get formal complaints, cases will be registered and we will arrest him,” another senior police official said. The 18-year-old told the police that she studies in a professional college and needs more time to file a complaint after consulting her parents and that she is very sacred of bad publicity. She told them she is yet to come out of shock.

The police said they are trying hard to convince the young girl to file a formal complaint and undergo a medical test.

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