CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat has lashed out at her own party’s television channel for its insensitive coverage of the assault on the Malayalam actress.
In an article written for NDTV, Karat termed Kairali’s story on the actress as “utterly scurrilous.”
“The TV channel Kairali put out an utterly scurrilous story about her. The channel had to publicly apologize,” she said, adding, “Other media outlets who ran sensationalist reports should do so too.”
The channel aired unsubstantiated reports of victim’s relationship with her driver who allegedly engineered the attack on her and even detailed the act of harassment in an attempt to sensationalise the issue.
In an apparent message to her colleague in the politburo and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Karat said political will to take strong action is the key to providing a safe environment for women. “Often, powerful political forces defend and give patronage to perpetrators of crimes against women.”
The ruling CPI(M) in Kerala had also faced flak after its state chief Kodiyeri Balakrishnan termed the assault as a “stray incident.” The BJP had alleged that Kodiyeri’s son was involved in the conspiracy to kidnap the actress saying he leads a mafia group in the Malayalam film industry.
Referring to union minister Menaka Gandhi’s demand for president’s rule in Kerala and other statement from the Opposition in the state, Karat said such statements are political rhetoric with little value except for point-scoring.
Karat said the rate of crimes against women in Kerala has been on the rise and has crossed the national average. “How to reverse these most disturbing realities is a most important challenge before the LDF Government and for all those committed to gender equality in word and deed, in theory and practice.”