Kerala Assembly: Treasury, Opposition benches spar over police response to crimes against women and children

RMP leader K.K. Rema initiates barbed back-and-forth by serving notice for an adjournment debate on Kerala Police’s ‘lack of sensitivity and diligence in empathetically investigating crimes against women and children and protecting victims from threat of reprisal’

Updated - July 10, 2024 04:25 pm IST

Published - July 10, 2024 01:01 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Treasury and Opposition benches sparred in the Kerala Assembly on July 10 over whether women and child victims of crimes received justice and empathy from the Kerala Police (image for representation)

Treasury and Opposition benches sparred in the Kerala Assembly on July 10 over whether women and child victims of crimes received justice and empathy from the Kerala Police (image for representation) | Photo Credit: PTI

Treasury and Opposition benches sparred in the Kerala Assembly on July 10 over whether women and child victims of crimes received justice and empathy from the Kerala Police.

Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader K.K. Rema initiated the politically primed and barbed back-and-forth by serving a notice for an adjournment debate on the police’s “lack of sensitivity and diligence in empathetically investigating crimes against women and children and protecting the victims from the threat of reprisal.” The often raucous debate culminated in a Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) walkout.

Ms. Rema highlighted the recent public assault on a Dalit girl at Aroor in Alappuzha for daring to complain to the police against a set of alleged CPI(M) workers who brutalised her brothers, both minors, to back the Opposition’s case against the State police.

Ms. Rema also attempted to score a political point by alleging that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had “shrunk away” from replying to her adjournment notice. Health Minister Veena George answered in Mr. Vijayan’s stead. 

Ms. Rema accused the government of failing to act on the 2019 Justice Hema Committee report that detailed sexual exploitation and gender inequality in the Malayalam film industry.

She spotlighted the government’s “failure” to bring to book top Kerala Cricket Assosiation (KCA) officials who allowed a cricket coach to allegedly sexually assault teenage players for more than a decade with impunity.

Ms. Rema stressed the “belated prosecution” of a CUSAT professor supposedly close to the CPI(M) for outraging his student’s modesty on the sidelines of a campus arts festival in March to present the Opposition’s case against the State police.

Ms Rema also struck a personal tone by alleging that CPI(M) social media handles were unsparing of her for seeking the prosecution of her husband and RMP founder T.P. Chandrasekharan’s killers. 

Veena George’s riposte

Ms. George riposted that the Opposition’s adjournment notice had no merit. It merely sought to politicise the condemnable attack on the Dalit girl. She said the State law enforcement was “highly gender-friendly” and prosecuted crimes against women, including acts of misogyny, with diligence.

Ms. George showcased how the police detected a missing woman case that lay cold for 15 years. Law enforcers arrested the woman’s former husband and his relatives for murder and destruction of evidence.

Ms. George countered that misogyny was “inherent in the UDF’s political culture.” She alleged that an RMP leader had attempted to body-shame CPI(M) legislator K.K. Shailaja at a public function in Kozhikode. Ms. George said the politician also betrayed a deeply sexist attitude by attempting to objectify a famous actor.

Reply rings hollow: Satheesan

Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan said Ms. George’s reply rang hollow. He said mainstream media and social media were awash with images and videos of Ms. George recently welcoming a serial offender and KAAPA detainee into the CPI(M) in Pathanamthitta.

Mr. Satheesan said Ms. George’s actions contradicted her claim about protecting the rights of women and children. “Ms. George had transferred a nurse from Kozhikode to Idukki for testifying against the accused in the infamous ICU rape case. The nurse had to move the high Court to get relief,” he said.

Speaker A.N. Shamseer denied the Opposition’s motion.

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