The Kerala Police on Sunday arrested tattoo artist Sujeesh PS from Kochi city after several women accused him of sexual assault, PTI reported. He has been booked under Sections 375 (rape) and 509 (words or gestures intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code.
On March 2, an 18-year-old woman alleged that Sujeesh asked her intrusive questions, touched her inappropriately and then raped her in Kochi’s Inkfected tattoo studio.
An Instagram account, femalecollectivein, reproduced the woman’s statement on its page. Several other women subsequently accused Sujeesh of sexual assault.
The police have filed a total of six cases against Sujeesh till now, Kochi Police Commissioner Nagaraju Chakilam said, according to the Hindustan Times.
“After allegations surfaced, he closed his studio and absconded,” he said. “Our teams were monitoring his movements and tracked him down on Saturday night.”
On Saturday, the police raided Sujeesh’s tattoo studio and seized laptops and close-circuit television footage. The police also carried out inspections at other tattoo studios in Kochi, and collected details about their employees, according to the Hindustan Times.
The woman who first made the allegations against the tattoo artist said it pained her to know that “similar incidents have happened to so many other women out there at the hands of this predator”.
“He has abused, women, his power and his privilege,” she said on Instagram.
At least six women have narrated similar experiences with the tattoo artist, according to The Quint . Some of these incidents date back to 2018. Some women told the website that they were apprehensive of filing a complaint due to the lack of evidence.
“I know many people who’ve been harassed by him but they are married or have other reasons for not coming forward,” one of the women told The Quint.
“The problem with my case is that I have no evidence so I don’t think I’ll be taken seriously,” another woman said. “I didn’t put up any stories, I paid by cash and don’t have even the bills.”