The charge of sexual harassment against CPM legislator from Shoranur PK Sasi, coupled with forced action against youth wing leader RN Jeevalal of Irinjalakuda in Thrissur district, has pushed the party to the wall.
The State leadership has been left embarrassed by the party's central leadership led by party general secretary Sitaram Yechuri asking the party in Kerala to probe the charge against Sasi. This comes at a time when former general secretary Prakash Karat,who has always been supportive of the State committee, denying that there was any formal complaint to the central leadership and his wife and politburo member Brinda Karat taking no action against the complaint made to her directly by the victim.
The Central Women's Commission has suo motto decided to take up the matter on the basis of media reports. To add to the woes has been party veteran VS Achuthanandan publicly announcing today that strict action would be taken against Sasi.
While the party has been finding it difficult to explain why the matter has not been left to the police, State secretary said the party was looking into the matter as the complaint was given to the party. Even Minister EP Jayarajan, officiating for Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who is away in the US for treatment, also claimed that the Government had nothing to do in the matter as it was a complaint made to the party.
The complaint by a DYFI leader from Palakkad was first raised through a letter to Kodiyeri early in August. Since she got no response, she was forced to write to politburo member Brinda Karat.
But this too met the same fate and she wrote to Yechuri who publicly admitted that the State leadership had been asked to probe the matter. A two-member team is looking into the charge, though Sasi has kept asserting that he was not aware of it and he was innocent and it was “the handiwork of those wanting to defame him’.
The complainant had accused the MLA of sexually harassing her in Mannarkad, his hometown, and used to call her up and pass lewd comments. In her mail to Yechuri, she said efforts were made to hush up the matter and a few leaders, including a former MLA, met her with a request to withdraw the complaint. She was even promised Rs 1 crore and top positions in the youth wing and the party.
A few years ago, another party leader by the same name and former secretary of the then Chief Minister EK Nayanar, had faced charges which the party probed. Here too the matter was not taken up with the police. Karat, then the general secretary, had publicly admitted that there were serious charges of sexual harassment. However, the next day, another politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai announced at the same venue that Karat had not said there were sexual harassment charges. But it is a different matter that the party's ‘acquitted' Sasi who is now back as a leader in Kannur.
In the Irinjalakuda case, the victim alleged an attempt to molest her was made at the MLA Hostel. Here too after the party tried to hush it up, the victim complained to the police. The case is now being taken up in Thiruvananthapuram as the crime was committed in the MLA Hostel. The party removed him from DYFI and suspended him from the party for a year.