The mother of the Suryanelli gang-rape victim in Kerala has written to United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi to ensure that PJ Kurien does not chair the Rajya Sabha when the bill on sexual violence against women comes up in Parliament.
The letter by the 70-year-old woman against Kurien, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, in an apparent attempt to exerting pressure on the Congress leadership in the 17-year-old gang-rape case came even as the government is set to introduce the bill providing for harsher punishment for sexual offences in the coming Budget session of Parliament.
Communist Party of India-Marxist-led Left Democratic Front opposition, meanwhile, forced the adjournment of the Kerala assembly over alleged police excesses against women MLAs demanding re-investigation of charges against Kurien in the Suryanelli case.
In her letter faxed to Sonia, with a copy to All India Congress Committee Vice President Rahul Gandhi, the victim's mother expressed anguish over the Congress-led UDF government in Kerala refusing to order further investigation in Kurien's alleged involvement in the case. The letter was released to the press on Thursday.
Striking an emotional note, the girl's mother hoped that being a mother herself the Congress president would understand the plight of the victim's family.
"... I wonder how can he (Kurien) chair the discussions when the ordinance aiming at the emancipation of womanhood in India promulgated by the Union of India with regard to the sexual offences against women in the Upper House of Parliament...(is about to be considered). Such a situation would amount to tarnishing the image of your party which has got a glorious history in protecting the weaker sex of this country", she said.
Recalling the harrowing experience through which the girl and her family has been through since 1996, the woman said, "We bonafidely believe that Kurien had exerted undue influence over the investigating officials in order to escape from the clutches of the law and he has succeeded in that."
"We have learnt from newspapers that the high command of Congress has decided to support Kurien in this matter. As far as we are concerned, it is heart-breaking," she added.
Kurien has all along rejected the charge and also the opposition demand for his resignation, saying it was a matter, which had already been cleared by the Supreme Court.