Feb 4 2013, 2:40am CST | by Luigi Lugmayr
Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 4 — Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Monday sought to protect the image of party colleague and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J Kurien as chaos reigned in the Kerala assembly over the apex court order on the Suryanelli sex case.
Chandy said wrong-doers should be brought to book, but those who are innocent should not be pilloried or crucified. The remarks came as the Left opposition stuck to its stance that the government should order reinvestigation of the Suryanelli sex case.
Meanwhile, the victim too has been asserting that Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien was among those who exploited her in 1996.
"You were the chief minister (2006-11) and you never did anything when the apex court exonerated Kurien. We know that none can go against the rule of law of the land and according to the rules, no appeal can be given. Hence we will not blame you," Chandy said, referring to leader of opposition in the house V.S. Achuthanandan.
Achuthanandan had earlier said that it was strange that it was only the day before, Sunday, when the president had signed an ordinance that states that the statement of the victim should be looked into.
"We cannot be party to what you are saying and your only objective is to save Kurien. Since you are not agreeing to a reinvestigation, we are boycotting the day's proceedings of the house," Achuthanandan said.
Soon, Speaker G. Karthikeyan rushed through the listed business of the day. In the meanwhile, four opposition legislators rushed to the dais of the speaker.
Earlier in the day, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan of the CPI-M sought leave for an adjournment motion seeking a re-investigation into the Suryanelli sex case after the victim wrote a letter to Chandy seeking the reopening of the case.
"The victim's letter, sent to Chandy Saturday, which was the same that she wrote to then chief minister A.K. Antony in 1996, states that she was exploited by a person called "Bhajji" at the Kumily guest house. Later, when a picture of that person appeared in a newspaper, she recognised "Bhajji" as P.J. Kurien. She says that this was pointed out by her to investigation officials, but they did not arraign Kurien as an accused," Balakrishnan said.
Replying to this, state Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said the moment Kurien's name came up in a private complaint of the victim, he sought legal recourse. "You should not forget that the apex court discharged Kurien in this private complaint Nov 16, 2007, when you, Balakrishnan, was home minister and Achuthanandan was chief minister. We all know you did not do anything because the laws do not allow for another appeal," Radhakrishnan said.
The opposition raised an uproar after this, and the speaker adjourned proceedings for an hour.
Ever since the Jan 31 apex court order of a re-trial of the case, setting aside the acquittal in 2005 by the Kerala High Court of all but one of the 35 accused, the Left opposition has been targeting the Congress government here over this case.
The Suryanelli case is named after the place where the victim hailed from, in the state's Idukki district. The crime occurred in January 1996 when the then 16-year-old was threatened, abducted, abused by a bus conductor, and brutally raped and treated as a pleasure object for 45 days by 42 men.
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