AIDWA welcomes the verdict of the Supreme Court in the Suryanelli case. The Kerala State unit of AIDWA has been involved with the case from the very beginning. Unfortunately, the UDF Govt. behaved in a rather partisan manner which was responsible for the fact that of the 40 accused, only one was sentenced. When the case came before the Supreme Court, the State unit of AIDWA got itself impleaded and its lawyers, VK Biju and V Giri, were responsible for bringing the case, that had been languishing for 8 years, to the attention of the CJI, who has ordered a speedy hearing of the SLP by the special bench constituted in the aftermath of the Delhi gang-rape case.
This horrendous incident of gang rape over 42 days of a young girl occurred 17 years ago, in 1995. She was duped and sold by a friend, and was then taken to several places in Kerala and Tamil Nadu where she was repeatedly abused. The UDF Govt. of the day did not prosecute the case seriously, perhaps because a prominent Congress leader was one of those named by the victim. When the LDF Govt. assumed power in 1996, it constituted a special court, the first of its kind, to try the case. In 2000, this trial court sentenced 34 of the accused to punishment ranging from 4 to 13 years in detention. However, the UDF came to power after this and the High Court not only acquitted all but one of them, but also passed very objectionable comments about the victim and insisted that she had participated in consensual sex because she was 3 months over the age of 16. Now, finally, the special bench to which the SC had referred the case has found the grounds on which HC acquitted the accused shocking. The bail of the accused has been cancelled and the case has been referred back to the High Court for fresh hearing within 6 months.
The LDF Govt. had given the victim a Govt. job but she and her family were continuously harassed because they filed an appeal in the Supreme Court. She was suspended from her job by the UDF Govt. in a vindictive act and re-instated only when the AIDWA unit and others raised a hue and cry. For 17 years, she and her family have been living a life of isolation and humiliation.
The Kerala State President of AIDWA, TN Seema, MP, visited Suryanelli after the SC decision and met the victim and her family, who expressed their appreciation of AIDWA’s efforts. They were assured that AIDWA would fight the case till justice was done and until the big fish among the accused, like Congress leader PJ Kurien, are convicted.