Women groups from across the country staged a protest demonstration at Jantar Mantar here on Thursday, demanding immediate resignation of P. J. Kurien from the post of Deputy Chairperson of Rajya Sabha for his alleged involvement in the Suryanelli rape case.

Expressing outrage over his being permitted to continue in his constitutional post, Sudha Sundararaman of the All-India Democratic Women’s Association said: “Mr. Kurien should resign immediately pending further investigation into the Suryanelli rape case. We condemn the Central Government’s refusal to take necessary action against Mr. Kurien especially when the legislation to address sexual assault on women (to replace the ordinance promulgated by the President) was slated to come up for discussion in the Budget session of Parliament beginning Thursday.”

“Although Mr. Kurien’s name was excluded by the investigating officers in the original case in the special court, he was charge-sheeted by a Session court based on a private complaint by the victim. While the trial should have proceeded in the Session court as per law, it was prevented by the discharge petition granted by the High Court,” said Ms. Sundararaman.

She added that now with the Apex Court quashing the High Court verdict of 2005, the High Court’s decision to discharge Mr. Kurien in a related case stood on questionable grounds and would have to be heard again.

Students’ Federation of India’s V. Sivadasam said: “Moreover, all witnesses who reinforced Mr. Kurien’s alibi except one have gone back on their statements to the police. Even the main accused Dharmarajan has told a TV channel reporter that he took Kurien in his car to the guest house where the girl said the rape occurred. Because of the new revelations it is only fair in the interest of justice that a reinvestigation should take place in the case against Mr. Kurien.”

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