After police plaint, Congress leader denies revealing molestation victim's name

Panaji : A Goa-based women's rights NGO on Monday filed a police complaint against state Women Congress President Pratima Coutinho for allegedly revealing the identity of a 17-year-old girl molested by a construction site worker from Jharkhand.

Coutinho claimed that she is being harassed for raising issues related to safety of women in Goa and alleged that senior police officers had been calling her since Monday morning and "threatening" her with a First Information Report.

NGO Savera founder Tara Kerkar told the media that in her complaint at the women's police station on Monday, she said that by revealing the girl's name Coutinho had damaged the minor's reputation.

"Coutinho is a lawyer, but for the second time she has revealed the girl's name on the social media. This will end up damaging her reputation and is an offence under law," Kerkar said, quoting the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the Indian Penal Code.

A Goa Police spokesperson confirmed receipt of the complaint. "We are verifying the contents of the complaint filed by Kerkar," the official said.

Coutinho, whose Facebook account is no longer visible on the social media site, said that she had not mentioned the victim's name on the social media and that there was a campaign afoot to harass her because of her aggressive stance on crime against women.

"The sexual assault happened at a resort being built by one of the most powerful politicians in Goa. The government and the police is therefore trying to harass me for raising my voice against sexual predators and offenders against women in Goa," Coutinho said.

"Top police officials from Margao -- I will not like to reveal their names -- have been calling me since morning. They are trying to mentally torture me because I am taking up the cases of minors and women," the Congress leader said.

On June 29, the 17-year-old girl was allegedly molested by Ramesh Chohan of Jharkhand at Netravali village in South Goa district. The accused is now in judicial custody.