People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 06

February 10, 2013

Suryanelli Rape Case

Women’s Orgn’s Demand Action against P J Kurien

The following is the statement issued by the national women’s organisations on February 6:  

WE the undersigned national women’s organisations welcome the verdict of the Supreme Court in the Suryanelli case directing the Kerala High Court to hear the appeal of the victim afresh. The horrendous incident of gang rape of over 42 days by at least 45 men, of a young girl occurred 17years ago, and we as women’s movements wish it to be revisited in the light of the recommendations being highlighted in the Justice Verma Report.


We are also deeply disturbed by the fact that one of the accused – Prof P J Kurien – presently deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha, is now challenging reopening of the case insisting that he has already been exonerated by the Supreme Court. The victim has reiterated her statement on the involvement of Mr Kurien. Also relevant is the statement made by one Mr K K Joshua who was a member of the investigation team, who said that the team leader Mr C B Mathews IPS, ignored the statement made by the victim and tried to collect false evidence in order to protect Mr Kurien. There are also seven witnesses who have issued statements against Mr Kurien.


It is tragic that the young woman till today has not received justice and continues to face all forms of harassment in society and she and her family are socially excluded for fighting her case. It is also outrageous that leaders and activists of women’s organisations, like AIDWA and NFIW who were protesting outside the Kerala Assembly in Trivandrum on February 6 demanding action against Mr Kurien were arrested, and at least ten of them had to  be hospitalised due to police assault on them.


In the light of the accusations, Mr Kurien should step down immediately from the position of deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha. It would be a travesty of justice if he is the person who would be chairing the parliament session in which amendments are being introduced to laws addressing sexual crimes against women. The government must make clear its commitment to ensure that women’s right to a violence free life is secured, and laws to ensure this are implemented rigorously.


The signatories to the statement include the following: Vimal Thorat, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch (AIDMAM), Sudha Sundararaman, All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), Sheila Kakade, All India Women’s Conference (AIWC), Indu Agnihotri, Centre for Women’s Development Studies(CWDS), Mohini Giri, Guild of Service (GOS),  Jyotsana Chatterjee, Joint Women’s Programme (JWP), Azra Abidi, Muslim Women’s Forum (MWF), Annie Raja, National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), Leila Passah - Young Women’s Christian Association of India