LDF steps up protest over Suryanelli case
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala's CPI(M)-led LDF opposition stepped up protests within and outside the assembly demanding a fresh probe into alleged involvement of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson P J Kurien in the Suryanelli gang rape case.
LDF members led by opposition leader V S Achuthanadan upped the ante against UDF Government's refusal to order a fresh investigation, while pro-LDF women outfits took out a march to the assembly.
The LDF members first walked out of the house and later disrupted proceedings, alleging that the marchers including two women MLAs were roughed up by police during the protest staged before the assembly complex.
The house also witnessed dramatic scenes with CPI MLA from Peerumade in Idukky E S Bijimol coming to the house and complaining she had had a harrowing experience with police when she went out to pledge support to the protesters.
LDF members then rose in unison demanding action against the erring police officials, resulting in their boycotting the session in the afternoon.
The LDF had staged a walkout during zero hour reiterating their demand for re-investigation in the light of recent turns in the 1996 Suryanelli case, including the Supreme Court invalidating Kerala High Court's verdict acquitting 35 accused in the case.
Despite LDF's aggressive posture, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said government has an open mind on the issue and would take a decision on Opposition's demand after getting legal opinion.
"Government has sought legal opinion on whether it can reopen a case discharged by the Supreme Court. Government is yet to get legal advice on it," Radhakrishnan said.
Chandy reiterated that the charge against Kurien had already been examined by the High Court and Supreme Court after a probe by three police teams. "We are committed to ensure the safety and security of women. But it is very cruel to punish a person who has not done anything wrong', he said.
An unfazed Kurien has all along rejected the charge and the demand for his resignation, saying it was a matter which had already been cleared by the Supreme Court.
Achuthanandan asserted after the house adjourned that LDF would continue the struggle to secure its demand in the case.