Left playing politics with Suryanelli case: Congress

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 7 (IANS) State Congress president Ramesh Chennithala Thursday asked the Left opposition in Kerala to desist from politicising the Suryanelli sex case and baying for the blood of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien.

"The Left, to divert public attention from its party matters, has taken the Suryanelli sex case to the centre-stage of a political platform. If they do not desist from politicising this issue, the Congress will have to pay them back in the same coin," Chennithala told reporters at Kurien's home district town, Pathanamthitta.

The horrific Suryanelli sex case occurred in Kerala's Idukki district Jan 1996, when a 16-year-old was threatened, abducted and abused by a bus conductor. She was sexually assaulted for 45 days by 42 men, and then threatened with dire consequences if she spoke of the incident, before being allowed to return home.

In repeated statements, the victim has claimed that P.J. Kurien was among the men who abused her 17 years ago.

The Supreme Court Jan 31 ordered a retrial in the case, setting aside the acquittal in 2005 by the Kerala High Court of all but one of the 35 accused.

As the victim and her parents repeat that Kurien got away lightly, without being so much as named among the accused, thanks to his political clout, the Left has rushed to draw mileage from the accusations.

The budget session of the Kerala assembly, which began three days ago, has been repeatedly stalled by the ruckus raised over the Suryanelli sex case issue.

The victim's mother Thursday faxed a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, stating that she was writing to a mother who also had a daughter about the same age as her own. The mother claimed that as the Rajya Sabha discussed issues related to women, it was disheartening that Kurien, her daughter's tormentor, should oversee proceedings.

The mother of the victim wrote that she was appealing for help, in the light of the recent apex court order cancelling the high court verdict that exonerate all of her daughter's attackers.

Left-backed women's organisations in the state Thursday took out protests in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi, demanding that Kurien be brought to justice.

"Three different police probes have cleared Kurien. It is most unfortunate that despite the court's absolution, the Left parties are doing this. We will be forced to take them on, politically," Chennithala said.

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