Adding to the humiliation of the victim of the Suryanelli rape case, who has been suffering for the past 17 years, Congress member of Parliament from Kerala K Sudhakaran has said she had moved around "as a prostitute, making money and accepting gift".
Sudhakaran's comments have raised protests from the Left, which has demanded an apology.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and party state president Ramesh Chennithala have refused to comment.
“Those who knew the history of the girl would understand the fact.... She had several occasions to escape from the torture, but she stayed at the place of rape. What the former high court judge R Basant stated about her was true. He is an upright and bold judge. What he stated was based on the evidence. The girl had little self-respect to tell her story before the media. It is a big question whether Kerala's conscious can accommodate this practice of making people fool,” Sudhakaran had said while addressing the media in Muscat on Saturday.
Sudhakaran’s statements have major political ramifications also because Congress leader and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien is facing allegations in the rape case, a charge he has denied.
Kurien is not part of the 35 accused but the victim had filed a private complaint later accusing him also of involvement in the sexual assault. However, the Supreme Court had allowed a discharge petition by Kurien.
The victim says she was abducted in 1996 from Suryanelli in Kerala when she was 16 and then gangraped in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
In 2005, the Kerala high court acquitted 34 men of raping her and convicted a lawyer Dharmarajan.
Speaking to a Malayalam TV channel from undisclosed location a few days ago, Dharmarajan, who has gone into hiding after jumping bail, had alleged that Kurien was involved in the case as charged by the victim. He was arrested in Karnataka on February 15.
In January, the SC set aside the Kerala high court's verdict and asked for a retrial within six months.