Three government-appointed tourist guides were arrested on charges of stripping naked a mother and her young daughter at an eco-tourism centre in Kerala, denting the tourist-friendly image of God's own country. The assailants had taken the video clippings of the assault on the women to collect money from them, after threatening that the visuals would be made public.
Investigating Officer DSP Varda Rajan said the guides had been appointed by the Forest Protection Committee, run by the Forest Department. The incident, which happened at Kumbavurutti waterfalls in Kollam district last month, came to light only a few days ago when a local news portal anweshanam.com released a two-minute-long video of the assault. It had shown two women, crying aloud and pleading with the three men not to strip them. While the two guides molested the tourists, the other one shot the scene on his mobile phone. The woman's husband was then tied to a tree.
After a Congress legislator took up the issue in the Assembly, Forest Minister Binoy Vishwam ordered a departmental inquiry and police action followed, leading to the arrest. The Minister told the Assembly on Wednesday that the accused had been suspended from service.
The DSP said the guides had been in the practice of stripping women and taking their video clippings for quite some time. The news portal sources said they had shot the scene in a sting operation.
As the victims have not turned up to register a formal complaint, the police registered the case as per sections 66 and 67 of the amended IT Act, Indecent Representation of Women (prohibition) Act and section 506 of the IPC.