'They plucked my hair, threatened to kill,' Vijayalakshmi recalls darkest day of her life

T Vijayalakshmi and AA Rahim.
T Vijayalakshmi and AA Rahim.

T Vijayalakshmi, whose complaint in a 2017 harassment case has resulted in a warrant being produced for Member of Parliament, AA Rahim said the state that is meant to stand alongside victims had stood against her.

A group of SFI activists led by CPM MP Rahim had for hours allegedly gheraoed Vijayalakshmi, who was the director of the Kerala University student services then.

The other day a Judicial First Class Magistrate Court here issued an arrest warrant for Rahim, who was a university syndicate member then.

The recent development in the case has come as a welcome relief for the lecturer, who claims to have suffered severe mental trauma following the incident at the Kerala University five years ago.

"Several male and female students gheraoed and verbally abused me. It was a shock. They didn't even consider that I was a teacher. It made me wonder where our society was headed," Vijayalakshmi said.

She said many advised her to ignore the incident as a routine event and warned her against pressing charges.

The police refused to register a case at first, she said.

Vijayalakshmi was gheraoed for allegedly blocking the final installments of funds for conducting the university arts festival. "Even after I told them that the bill has passed, they abused me... I know they won't even apologise, but I was able to show the society that they made a mistake. Filing the case has started seeing results," she said.


State stood by the party
Vijayalakshmi said she fought the legal battle spending from her pocket. "From my experience, the state stood by the party, not the victim," said Vijayalakshmi.

"I was certain that my position was right and that is why I'm proceeding with the case. I'm happy with the court's ruling, it has been proven that nobody is above law."


'Darkest day of my teaching career'
Vijayalakshmi said March 30, 2017, was the darkest day of her teaching career. When the students approached her for the final installment, she demanded the previous bills, which is the norm set by the university. "For that, about 200 students rounded me and abused me, even pulled my hair. They denied me water and tortured me emotionally."


'Will chop off your head, they said'
Rahim's words as recalled by Vijayalakshmi: "A director is a mere sepoy. If you raise your head further, that head won't be there. We won't hesitate to kill. If you want your life, sign and leave or you will exit as a corpse. If you are found, here again, you'll be killed."

She said the female protesters pulled her hair and stabbed her with pens. Vijayalakshmi said she sent complaints to the chief minister, the police and the women's commission, but a case was registered, at least for namesake, after meeting the governor.

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