The letter written by the mother of the Suryanelli rape case victim to the Congress president Sonia Gandhi seeking action against Deputy Rajya Sabha Chairman P. J. Kurien seems to have put the party high command in a tight spot.
The emotional plea for justice comes six days after the Union Cabinet cleared an ordinance to ensure that those who commit crimes against women face far tougher sentences than those currently on the statute book.
A day after the government brought the ordinance promising tough action against rapists, both Ms. Gandhi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had also met the family members of the Delhi gang-rape victim and assured them that all measures would be taken for protection of women and swift action taken against those involved in the crime.
Stating that the issue should be looked at in an impartial way and from the aspect of the dignity of a woman, CPI (M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat told The Hindu on Thursday that the high command should advise the UDF government led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to re-investigate the case, especially after they have set a precedent of re-investigating several cases.
Ms. Karat said the situation changed after the Supreme Court had set aside the Kerala High Court’s order acquitting all the accused in the Suryanelli rape case. “It’s a disgrace for Mr. Kurien to remain in the constitutional post,” she said.
Expressing doubts to what extent the issue will have an impact outside Kerala, B. R. P. Bhaskar, political commentator, said the national leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party seems to be not worried.
“But the Congress high command will not be able to set aside the allegation as one that gets raked up before every election. It is understandable that charges will be levelled to embarrass a candidate in elections. But this time it got raked up in the context of the public uproar over the Delhi gang-rape incident,’’ he said.
Even though KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala pointed out on Thursday the issue would be dealt politically, many in the party itself feel that the high command would not be able to save Mr. Kurien for long especially after the mounting pressure inside and outside the Legislative Assembly demanding action against him.
A. Jayasankar, lawyer and political commentator, pointed out that the Congress high command would not be able to ignore the request for justice by the victim and her family.