National women’s commission books MLA Sasi for sexual charges raised by a woman party worker
Thiruvananthapuram: The National Commission for Women on Wednesday registered a case against ruling CPI (M) MLA P Sasi, who is in the eye of a storm over sexual charges raised by a woman party worker.
Commission chairperson Rekha Sharma said that she would come to Kerala and record the statement of the victim.
The central panel stepped into the issue even as the Kerala Women’s Commission on Wednesday said it cannot suo motu register a case against Sasi.
The BJP slammed the panel, saying it had become a ‘mute spectator’.
A woman leader of the Democratic Youth Federation, the youth wing of CPI (M), had raised the sexual charges against Sasi, Shornur MLA, following which the party’s state unit began a probe. While Industries minister E P Jayarajan maintained that the complaint had not come up before the government and that it was a party matter, state women’s commission chairperson M C Josephine said a suo motu case cannot be registered as the complaint has been forwarded to the party.
“It (the complaint) has not come to us. You should ask the party secretary,”Jayarajan,presiding over cabinet meetings in the absence of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, now in the U.S. for treatment, said C Josephine.
Asked about the allegations in the complaint, he said ‘Ask the complainant…I do not know. It is a party matter. What I am saying is government matter. As an MLA and a minister, such an issue is not before me,” he added.
When it was pointed that CPI (M) had sought a police probe when such charges had cropped up earlier against others, he said there was no such allegation or complaint before the government now.
“So this is not a matter to be dealt with by the government…Party issue, the party will look after.” he said.
Josephine said if the Marxist party has received such a complaint, the party has its own way of dealing with it. This is not a new thing. From the time CPI (M) came into being, there are certain ways for it to handle such issues’.
She also said that to err is human and some times such mistakes do happen to people in the party also.
The CPI (M) had followed due procedures when there were allegations against those within the party, she added.
The party and the commission were two separate entities, she told reporters, indicating that the panel cannot launch proceedings based on the complaint received by the party.
Stepping up pressure against CPI (M), BJP’s youth wing took out a march to the MLA’s residence at Kulikkiliyad in Palakkad district and burnt his effigy in the state capital, demanding registration of a case against him and his resignation.
Police stopped them and registered a case against the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) workers. Workers of BJP and Kerala Students Union, the student wing of the Congress, also filed separate complaints with DGP Loknath Behara, seeking a probe into the case, a day after CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury stated that the party had initiated an enquiry into the complaint.
The CPI (M), heading the ruling LDF alliance, initiated the probe after the DYFI woman leader sent a complaint to its central leadership last month, alleging that the MLA had attempted to sexually abuse her.
BJP’s state unit president P S Sreedharan Pillai alleged that the CPI(M) leadership had tried to hush up the matter, while party MP V Muraleedharan said the women’s commission had become a ‘mute spectator’ Senior Congress leader K Muraleedharan, MLA, said the CPI(M) had ‘double standards’ while dealing with such issues.
“When an allegation of sexual misconduct were made against a Congress MLA, government registered a case and put him in jail. Here the party says it has its own ways to deal with the serious charges. People want to know the stand of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the issue,” he said.
The woman had sent the complaint to CPI (M) politburo member Brinda Karat on August 14 and e-mailed a copy to Yechury.
The accused MLA has described the complaint as a “well planned conspiracy” to malign him politically.