Pressure is mounting on Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha P.J. Kurien to resign from the post as Left parties and the Kerala State unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party have stepped up protests demanding re-investigation of the Suryanelli rape case.
The victim in the case, a 16-year-old girl, who was raped for over 40 days by over 30 men, has been maintaining that Kurien had also raped her. The Supreme Court had recently set aside the Kerala High Court’s order acquitting 35 accused in the case.
The Congress high command, sources indicated, has also taken the victim’s allegation seriously in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict. Though Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has ruled out a fresh look into the case without legal counsel, a senior leader told reporters here that the leadership was “independently verifying” the charges against Kurien.
In the meantime, Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said here that the law would take its own course.
He said the Kerala Government was bound to take action according to the Supreme Court’s direction in the case. He added that the party had stood for stringent punishment in cases of sexual atrocities against women.
CPI(M) leader in Rajya Sabha Sitaram Yechury said Kurien had to resign on moral grounds.
He said since the matter was before the apex court again, he has to step down till the court takes a view on the issue. Yechury added that CPI(M) was the only party that never proposed nor seconded Kurien’s name for the Constitutional post.
Congress circles indicated that Kurien had to take a “political call” on the issue. Since the Budget session is just two weeks away, the party may have to decide fast. The BJP is yet to make its stand clear on the issue. BJP’s Kerala leaders have approached the central leadership for stepping up protests against Kurien.
Kurien has been maintaining that he was never involved in the case and the courts had upheld his position.