The CPM which is vociferously fighting for the rights of women to worship at Sabarimala appears to have watered down action on the charge of sexual assault against its legislator PK Sasi by one of its woman activist.
He is to share the dais with leader and Minister AK Balan, who the party deputed to probe the complaint. If the August flood submerged the charge against Shoranur MLA Sasi, it resurfaced only after party general secretary Sitaram Yechuri spilled the beans and went public saying the party state leadership would probe the matter. Party state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was quick to react, saying the party had begun the probe under Minister Balan and PK Sreemathy MP.
The charge by the DYFI leader from Palakkad was that she was sexually assaulted by Sasi at his home town Mannarkad. Her complaint earlier to the state leadership and politburo member Brinda Karat went without response and so she was forced to email Yechuri with clippings of his lewd talk.
The party had claimed that the probe team quizzed both Sasi and the complainant and a few leaders who tried to offer the latter money to hush up the matter. Balan even said action would be taken. The party state committee early this month was supposed to have taken up the matter and decided the punishment. But it was put in the backburner in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala where the party stand was that it would ensure safe trek to the shrine for women in the menstrual age. That it failed to do so in the wake of protests by Hindu organisations is a different matter.
However, Balan's assertion that action would be taken against Sasi appears to be hollow as they are to share the dais in Palakkad on October 26. Immediately after the complaint surfaced, Sasi had been asked to stay away from public appearances and he obeyed citing 'health’ reasons. But the indication that the party would not go for strict action came when Sasi attended the recent district committee of the party and from there a few other functions.
Party sources in Palakkad said that with things having turned against the government over the Sabarimala issue and also having been forced to withdraw the permits for breweries and a distillery in the wake of corruption charges, it did not want to face more embarrassment over a sexual assault complaint against its legislator.
But booking former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Congress leader KC Venugopal on similar charges by Saritha Nair of the solar scam fame and sparing Sasi would leave the party a lot to explain.