Commenting on sexual assault charges against a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist), Kerala State Women's Commission Chairperson MC Josephine has said that "We are all human beings and mistakes do happen".
"We are all human beings, mistakes do happen. People inside the party may also have committed such mistakes," she told the media on September 5 when asked about the sexual assault allegations levelled by a woman against the CPI (M) MLA from Kerala's Shornur constituency, PK Sasi.
While denying receiving any complaint in this regard, she passed on the buck to the party and said, "That's up to the party to decide. The Marxist party will have their own system of dealing with these complaints; it's not a new thing. Since its inception party has handled such complaints. Party will have their own system of handling such complaints and they handle it in their way."
"We have not got any complaint. Even for suo moto case, we need at least the basic details like the nature of complaint which could be revealed either by the media or the victim themselves, in this case that hasn't happened. Then how can we register a case," she added.
Earlier, National Commission of Women (NCW) took cognizance of the matter and wrote to Kerala police to investigate the matter.
Apprising of the development, NCW had tweeted, "The Commission is deeply disturbed with such alleged conduct on part of the elected representative. NCW has written to the Director General of Police and State Police Chief, Kerala giving directions that the matter is investigated. NCW has also directed him to apprise the Commission about the action taken in the matter and ensure speedy delivery of justice to the victim."
On September 7, the CPI(M) issued a statement on the issue and said the party will take appropriate action in the matter. It further accused the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a section of the media of making baseless allegations in order to defame the party.
The statement added that the CPM state committee received a complaint against party MLA on August 14 following which an enquiry was ordered into the matter.
"CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has heard the statement of the lady. Later, P K Sasi, MLA whose name was mentioned in the complaint was called to AKG center and heard his version about the complaint. State secretary explained all this in the first state secretariat meeting held on August 31. The meeting unanimously decided to conduct detailed enquiry on the lady's complaint.. Soon after receiving their report, party will take appropriate action on this issue," the party said in the statement.
The CPI(M) further said that it will take a decision according to the party constitution, dignity and moral values. "CPM have taken strong stand on ensuring women safety and preventing tag atrocities against women in all time. Party has taken stubborn stand on rare occasions when raised some complaints insulting women," it stressed.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine