Women's rights activists and politicians on Monday expressed their strong protest and ire over Congress leader and Member of Parliament from Kunnur Lok Sabha constituency, K. Sudhakaran's, alleged sexist remark about the Suryanelli gangrape case victim.
According to some media reports, Sudhakaran had termed the victim as a prostitute and also said that she could have easily escaped from her tormentors.
The remark has kicked up a row among the social activists and women politicians of the country, who strongly denounced the remark made by Sudhakaran.
"I think the responsible people like Sudhakaran should think ten times before they speak.
The leaders from the Congress party are trying to influence the justice system. This is what we are complaining all the time, and everybody now knows in the country that people who are at high positions and mighty, can manipulate the system," said social activist Ranjana Kumari.
Mamta Sharma, Chairperson of the National Women's Commission (NCW), said that political leaders should behave more responsibly and refrain from making such derogatory statements.
"What kind of mentality does he have when he says that the girl is a prostitute, and they also stated that she could have escaped? Were they present at spot of the crime? Did he see that she could have escaped? Leaders should refrain from making such derogatory and irresponsible comments," said Sharma.
Earlier in the day, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Brinda Karat lashed out at the Congress leadership for not taking any action against those leaders, who are making such remarks.
The 17-year old case gained national prominence after the victim wrote a letter to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, accusing P. J. Kurien, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, as one of her tormentors and sought a re-investigation in the case.
S. S. Dharamarajan, the main accused in the 1996 rape case, who was out on bail and was hiding, arrested on February 12 and produced before a court in Kottayam.
Reportedly, the victim, a native of Suryanelli in Idukki district, was abducted and raped by different persons for around 40 days in 1996.
Image: File photo of Sudhakaran