Sexual assault charges: 4 cases registered against popular tattoo artist

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Kochi police commissioner Nagaraju Chakilam told the HT that four women came forward to register formal complaints after enough persuasion and police have started a search for the accused.

Thiruvananthapuram:

A day after an 18-year-old girl posted a message in social media alleging sexual assault in a popular tattoo studio in Kochi which triggered a flurry of complaints the police on Friday registered four cases against the owner of the studio.

Kochi police commissioner Nagaraju Chakilam told the HT that four women came forward to register formal complaints after enough persuasion and police have started a search for the accused.

“We have registered four separate FIRs. We have some clues about the accused and he will be arrested soon,” said the commissioner. He said these women scared of bad publicity refused to file complaints initially but police took them into confidence ensuring protection and confidentiality. He said charges may vary from insulting the modesty of women to rape in different cases and police will take detailed statements from survivors. After the incident, the commissioner said, details of all tattoo studios and its employees in the port were collected and they are checking their antecedents.

After complaints surfaced in social media the artist identified as Sujeesh P S of “Inkfected studio” has been absconding. Narrating her bitter experience on Reddit, the victim said she went to the studio to get a tattoo a week ago. 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 raped her after putting a needle on 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 three more women came out speaking of similar experiences at the studio. One of them, a 23-year-old woman, alleged in a post on Instagram that the accused similarly molested her two years ago when she went there to get a tattoo but she suffered in silence fearing stigma and bad publicity.

Police said the accused is a popular tattoo artist, and he often shared his images with cinema artists and other VIPs to attract clientele. Started in a small way he flourished in last five years after tattoo turned a big fad among youth. They said he has over 52,000 followers in social media and his Instagram account was not functioning after the complaint surfaced. After survivors refused to file complaints saying “shaming will do” many women’s rights activists have appealed to them to come out and lodge complaints against the artist. Police expect more complaints against him in coming days.


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