Brinda Karat, Polit Bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), has said that women MPs should consider if they want P.J. Kurien, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, as their presiding officer in the light of allegations that he was wrongfully acquitted in the Suryanelli sex-scandal case.

She has asked Mr. Kurien to step down from his position until he was exonerated.

Ms. Karat was speaking to presspersons after visiting the parents of the Suryanelli rape victim near Kottayam on Monday. She said she wanted the State government to reopen the case. There was reluctance on the part of the government to do so despite the valuable statements made by the victim, who had been fighting for justice for the past 17 years.

She said a State-wide campaign was being launched to ensure justice for the rape victim. This was an issue of sexual assault and not a political or family issue and the victim should be admired for her courage in persisting with her pursuit of justice. Her point of view was of paramount importance.