THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Water cannons were used to disperse a large crowd gathered outside the Kerala Assembly demanding the immediate ouster of PJ Kurien, the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha over his alleged involvement in the Suryanelli gangrape case in 1996.
The horrific Suryanelli rape 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.
The Supreme Court on January 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.
Earlier, in 2007, the apex court had acquitted Kurien. In repeated statements, the victim has claimed that P.J. Kurien was among the men who abused her 17 years ago.
Kurien, says the survivor, got away due to his political connections. The girl's mother on Thursday wrote to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, pleading for re-investigation into the case.
Earlier this month the SC directed a retrial of the Suryanelli case, setting aside the earlier verdict by the Kerala High Court, which had acquitted 35 accused - excluding Kurien - of raping the woman in 40 days.
The High Court has been asked by the SC to give verdict within six months.
More trouble for PJ Kurien
More trouble beckons for PJ Kurien as one of the key witnesses, KS Rajan, has retracted his earlier statement. According to an IBN-Live report, the witness now claims that his earlier statement was not recorded correctly. He said,"My friends took me to the bank and very casually asked if I had not met him there or not on that day. I said yes, which is all I said, nothing to protect him." (With inputs from Agencies)