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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Stalker stabs 23 year young woman in full public view ~ 20 years since Monica Seles was stabbed

Some news makes us even as we read them……. One such was the tragedy that befell on a young girl for no fault of hers. The story of  23-yearold J Vinodhini who suffered grievous burns in an acid attack by a man whose advances she had rejected; she succumbed to the injuries in Feb 2013.  In Bhopal recently, in a tragic incident, a jilted lover  shot dead a bride on the stage in full public view at a marriage garden….

Lindsay Davenport; Anastasia Myskina; Kim Clijsters; Justine Henin; Jelena Janković; Caroline Wozniacki; Petra Kvitová; Victoria Azarenka; Serena Williams  ~ the list of No.1 in Women Tennis … and if you are to go back more than 2 decades, there would be more names and there was Monica Seles too….  Monica Seles – was doing great in the circuit and reached the top most part too…   and became a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Born in Serbia, she later became a naturalized United States citizen in 1994 and also received Hungarian citizenship in June 2007. She won nine Grand Slam singles titles, winning eight of them while a citizen of Yugoslavia and one while a citizen of the United States. In 1990, Seles became the youngest-ever French Open champion, at the age of 16.

Not everything pink as on April 30, 1993 she was the victim of an on-court attack, when a man stabbed her in the back with a 9-inch-long knife.  That injury was to keep her away from the professional circuit for over 2 years ~ though she was to come back, she perhaps was unable to consistently reproduce her best form. She played her last professional match at the 2003 French Open, but did not officially retire until February 2008. In June 2011, she was named one of the "30 Legends of Women's Tennis: Past, Present and Future" by Time. The man who stabbed her had stalking her for long … Stalking !! – now read this report in TOI Chennai edition of date.

A stalker stabbed a 23-year-old woman in full public view on Rutland Gate Road in Nungambakkam around 11am on Monday, in a savage attack that left her battling for life. A police officer said P Lakshmi Devi was heading to an interior design firm she works for when D Saravanan, 26, accosted her, pulled out a knife and struck her with it repeatedly till she collapsed. The assailant, a resident of Villivakkam, escaped on a motorbike even as passersby rushed to the woman’s aid. Witnesses said Devi attempted to escape but Saravanan held her back and stabbed her in the neck, shoulder and abdomen.

The attempted murder, the most recent in a rash of attacks on women in the city, took place two weeks after Devi complained to the Anna Nagar police about Saravanan. Police, who are searching for Saravanan, had warned him against following Devi and made him sign an undertaking that he would not before letting him go.  Investigators said Saravanan and Devi earlier worked for a company in Anna Nagar, and he had been obsessed with her ever since.

TOI further adds that Stalking is a crime, but the state police are unaware of the law they are supposed to enforce or simply do not care about the threat that stalkers pose to the women they are obsessed with. Either way, a woman in the city faces the threat of not just attacks by people they have never seen before but also the danger of a fatal attack by a deranged and homicidal stalker. This vicious attack took place in broad daylight on bustling Rutland Gate Road in Nungambakkam. Saravanan’s attempt to murder the woman was cold-blooded, premeditated and carried out with impunity. It was the most recent attack in a series of such crimes and, with police failing to prevent such crimes, it is unlikely to be the last.

Now there is the amended IPC Section 354, prompted by the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape in Delhi, containing clauses that address specific crimes against women, including stalking Section 354(D) – TOI reports that  the state police have failed to enforce the law to protect women from men manically obsessed with them. Women in the city who have been victims of stalkers say police officers in the city are reluctant to file complaints and in most cases try to get them to reach a compromise with the men. They say policemen fail to understand the gravity of the crime and how it affects them: That being shadowed at all hours of day causes them serious alarm and fills their every waking moment with trepidation. The attack on Devi came less than two weeks after a cab driver, who stalked a 24-year-old dietician S Rekha for months, killed her, mutilated her and dumped her body parts in Porur Lake. In that case, too, the woman lodged a complaint against the stalker at Madhavaram police station and policemen did not take the complaint seriously. Under the provisions of IPC Section 354(D), police can arrest a stalker is there is reasonable proof of the offence. Once convicted, a stalker faces imprisonment of up to three years and a fine.

TOI opines that if a stalker can launch a murderous attack on a woman even after she has lodged a complaint against the man, it is clearly the result of dereliction of duty by police, more so because there is now a specific law under which action may be taken against such offenders. Stalkers are manically obsessive and often capable of horrendous violence. Police can and should take such offenders off the streets before they attack the women they are infatuated with. Tough action is certainly the need of the hour. 

glamorous Sharapova seen with Monica Seles

Getting back to Tennis, Seles was the top women's player heading into 1993, having won the French Open three consecutive years and both the US Open and Australian Open in consecutive years. In January 1993, Seles defeated Graf in the final of the Australian Open, which to date was her third win in four Grand Slam finals against Graf. On that fateful day in Apr - during a quarterfinal match with Magdalena Maleeva in Hamburg in which Seles was leading 6–4, 4–3, Günter Parche, an obsessed fan of Steffi Graf, ran from the middle of the crowd to the edge of the court during a break between games and stabbed Seles with a boning knife between her shoulder blades, to a depth of 1.5 cm (0.59 inches). Initially, there was speculation that the attack may have been politically motivated because of Seles' Serbian roots. She was known to have received death threats in relation to the ongoing conflict in her native Yugoslavia.  The attacker, Parche was charged following the incident, but was not jailed because he was found to be psychologically abnormal, and was instead sentenced to two years' probation and psychological treatment. The incident prompted a significant increase in the level of security at tour events. Seles vowed never to play tennis in Germany again, disenchanted by the German legal system. "What people seem to be forgetting is that this man stabbed me intentionally and he did not serve any sort of punishment for it... I would not feel comfortable going back. I don't foresee that happening." Gabriela Sabatini was the only player who abstained from voting against Seles having her ranking preserved after the attack. All the other players voted that Seles should lose her ranking. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

13th May 2014.

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