There's much sex in politics here (Kerala Newsletter)
Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 10 : Two cases, the Kozhikode ice cream sex case and the Suryanelli sex case have been frequently in the headlines in the state over the past decade and a half.
Incidentally, in both cases, the Left Democratic Front led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist has had occasion to use controversies as a whip against the Congress-led United Democratic Front.
The ice cream case dates back to the 1990s, and its strange name is because an ice cream parlour in Kozhikode was used as a place where young women, some of them teenagers, were lured into sex and exploited by men in powerful positions.
P.K. Kunhalikutty of the Indian Union Muslim League, currently industries minister of the state, had to give up his office in 2005 when a victim made allegations against him; Kunhalikutty was later cleared by the Supreme Court in 2006.
Kunhalikutty's real tormentor in the case, though, was V.S. Achuthanandan, currently leader of the opposition in the state assembly. Achuthanandan loses no opportunity to tarnish Kunhalikutty, and is at it still.
Through a court directive last month, he has received the case diary; the case had been registered in early 2011, at a time when Achuthanandan was chief minister.
Achuthanandan went to the court last year, complaining that the case he ordered had been sabotaged after Kunhalikutty became a minister in the Oommen Chandy government, which assumed office May 2011.
The case diary has since found its way to the media, and has been the subject of newspaper headlines in the past few days.
"I will pursue this case in the high court and also the Supreme Court," Achuthanandan said. Kunhalikutty, meanwhile, says he would be happy for the law to take its course.
The Suryanelli sex case of 17 years ago has also been brought back to the limelight.
This case is named after Suryanelli in Idukki district, from where its victim hailed. In January 1996, a 16-year-old was threatened, abducted and abused by a bus conductor, then sexually assaulted for 45 days by 42 men who took her from place to place.
The Supreme Court on Jan 31 ordered a retrial of the case in the Kerala High Court, setting aside the acquittal in that court in 2005 of all but one of the 35 accused.
The victim, now a 32-year-old in the employ of the state government, has repeatedly claimed that P.J. Kurien, senior Congressmen and currently deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha, was among those who exploited her in 1996.
The Suryanelli case has caused the disruption of proceedings in the state assembly ever since the budget session began Monday last.
"Is it not a shame that a serious session of the assembly is getting disrupted, when Kurien has been cleared by the apex court? It's rather sad," said one MLA sitting with a group of fellow-legislators at the canteen of the state assembly.
Veteran lawyer K. Ramkumar said that Kerala has the habit of blaming the judiciary each time a judgment is pronounced by the court that goes against the desires of a political party.
The first week of the assembly session has been washed out by scandal. It remains to be seen if better sense would prevail now. Speaker G. Karthikeyan has admonished four women legislators who stormed his dais during the ruckus over the past week, and has also given a call to all legislators to see that decency and decorum is maintained.