Following the acquittal of the suspect in the rape and murder of a minor girl from Dindigul by the District Mahila Court last month, salons across the State downed their shutters on Friday, demanding justice for the girl’s family. Protests were also conducted across the State, demanding that the government appeal against the acquittal.
On April 16, 2019, the body of the girl was found at her house in Dindigul. Subsequently, a 17-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the case. However, a Mahila Court recently acquitted the suspect in the case. “We feel that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the case was not heard properly and was closed hastily. We want the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court to take up the case,” said V. Palani, State president, Tamil Nadu Maruthavar Samudhaya Peravai, who organised a protest in Chepauk on Friday and called for the shutting down of salons for a day.
More than 10 lakh salons were closed across Tamil Nadu. “We also want the government to provide ₹1 crore as compensation to the family. The girl was born to the couple 10 years after their marriage and her father is a hair stylist. The compensation announced now, which is just a few lakh rupees, will not suffice,” he added.
Meanwhile, in the southern districts, too, more than 10,000 salons remained shut on Friday. In Dindigul town and its periphery, more than 1,000 shops were closed. The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIADWA) also asked the State government to appeal against the verdict.
In Salem, members of the Veeratyagi Vishwanatha Das Thozilalar Katchi protested in front of the District Collectorate, condemning the acquittal. The protesters demanded justice for the victim’s family. They said that the sole accused in the case had been acquitted and this was against natural justice. They demanded that the State government appeal against the acquittal.
Hairdressers in Krishnagiri, organised under the Veerathyagi Vishwanatha Das Thozhilalar Katchi, also staged a demonstration. They gathered opposite the Anna statue and demanded that the State government appeal against the verdict. The protesters demanded that the family be ensured justice for the brutal rape and murder. Similarly, in Dharmapuri, barbershops were closed in various parts of the district. In Paapireddypatty, all outlets were closed in solidarity with the family of the victim, who belonged to the same hairdressers community.
In Tiruchi, all shops attached to the Tiruchi District Barbers’ Association closed their shutters. Members organised a prayer for the victim, whose father was a barber in Dindigul. A petition was also submitted by the association to the Tiruchi District Collector demanding justice for the family. Several salons not attached to the association also shut shop on their own, the Barbers’ Association requested the cooperation of others.
Over 1,000 barber shops in Vellore were closed on Friday. “We submitted a petition to the Vellore Collector seeking justice for the family of the girl,” said M. Ganapathy, district president, Tamil Nadu Barbers Association.