Kerala watched with shock as the gang-rape victim from Thrissur, a mother of two who appeared before the media with her face covered last week. She and her husband were inconsolable and broke down several times during the press conference. She alleged that Jayanthan, a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) leader and municipal councillor from Wadakkanchery, and three others gang-raped her and threatened to kill the whole family if she lodged a complaint. 
 

Also read: Kerala cops asked gangrape victim 'who gave you the most pleasure?'
 

On Saturday, another shocker came from the former speaker and ex-minister K Radhakrishnan of the CPM, who revealed the name of the victim at a press conference. Even after the media persons pointed out that it was a crime to reveal the name of a rape victim, the CPM leader refused to correct. 

“If Jayanthan (the CPM’s municipal councillor who is alleged to have raped the woman) could be named in public, why keep her name secret. It is not right,” he defended. 

 If Jayanthan could be named in public, why keep her name secret. It is not right: Former Speaker K Radhakrishnan, CPM


The former speaker’s strange and insensitive logic in naming and shaming the victim of a gang rape was met with sharp criticism from the social media, and the National Women’s Commission sought an explanation from him. 

 

But even more shocking was the justification by the CPM’s women leaders who claim to be the warrior’s of woman rights and guardian angels of victims sexual abuses, unless of course if the accused were not their comrades.  

 

Despite Radhakrishnan’s defiant defence, the woman leaders of the CPM, including the leaders of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), chose to give him a ‘good certificate.’ 

 

Here are some responses by CPM and pro-CPM women leaders: 

 

  •  I am not ready to put the blame on Radhakrishnan for saying that. (making the name of the victim public.) I am not willing to say that he made a big mistake. I am not ready either to conclude that Radhakrishnan's status took a beating or that he tried to put the woman in a bad light by naming her.

KK Shailaja, state minister and AIDWA leader:

 

  •  Radhakrishnan must have said so considering the situation there (at the local level). They  know the issue very well. However, the naming the victim is a mistake. The AIDWA will not oppose if somebody came up with a complaint. 

Former Rajya Sabha Member TN Seema, CPM state committee member, AIDWA leader 

 

  • Radhakrishnan must have considered the financial angle of the case. Such mistakes can happen to anyone. There is an attempt to divert attention from major problems faced by the state through this. Radhakrishnan is a leader who uses his words diligently. 

Suja Susan George, pro-CPM activist.

 

But Radhakrishnan’s comments have not gone down well with the Communist Party of India (CPI), the second largest partner of the CPM in the Pinarayi Vijayan ministry in Kerala.  “If anyone acted against the law, stern action should be taken,” he replied to a question on the former speaker’s controversial statement. 

  • Radhakrishnan's statement making the name of the rape victim public is against the law and was very unfortunate. Even after the journalists pointed out the mistake, he tried to justify himself, which was highly unjustified. 

Annie Raja, CPI. 

 

  • It can't be taken as a mistake. It reflects the party's mindset against a gangrape victim. ...This is not the first such instance. Legal action should be taken against Radhakrishnan, and he must be punished."

Sara Joseph, Writer, activist.

  • The Women's Commission will take suo motu case against the statement. 

J Prameela Devi, Member, Kerala State Women's Commission. 

 

It may be recalled that the Kerala Tribal Welfare Minister insulted womanhood recently in the Assembly by making a tongue-in-the-cheek statement about tribal mothers. While replying to a question on infant mortality among tribes in the state, he stated that he was not “responsible for the pregnancy.”  "… four (infants) have died (since the LDF came to power). None of them died of malnutrition. One was an abortion. In that case, she got pregnant during your period," Balan said looking at the Opposition benches. "Only that the delivery happened in our time. I am not responsible for that," he added.
 

Also read: Kerala Minister insults tribal mothers in Assembly as legislators cheer on

 

Even after the statement was widely condemned, the minister was not ready to apologise. Instead, he blamed a concerted move against him when his comments came under criticism. He even suspected the hand of  a 'radical outfit' behind making it a controversy. 


In July this year, PV Anwar, the independent MLA from Nilambur backed by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), termed solar scam accused Saritha S Nair a prostitute during his maiden speech in the Kerala Assembly. Surprisingly, no one in the Assembly, including the self-proclaimed champions of women's rights, who would otherwise have stormed the well for even at the mildest attack on their leaders, raised an objection!