No Justice After 16 Years for the #Suryanelli #Gang #Rape Victim!
In 1996, in the town of Suryanelli, in Kerala, a 16-year-old girl was abducted and brutally gang-raped by 42 men over a 40 day period. She was tied up, and transported place to place throughout the state, and raped by various men at various points. When she was finally dumped by the rapists and taken to the hospital the doctors said her groin and private areas were so savaged, and she had bled so much that a few more days, and she would be dead! The victim however found courage and named and identified her rapists. One of them was Kurien who she recognized and identified from a photograph. During her captivity one day she was told that an “important” man would be “visiting” her. She didn’t know who he was at the time, but begged him to spare her and rescue her since he had the power to. He didn’t. Later, she saw his face in a newspaper and recognized him instantly.
On September 06, 2000, a special court found 35 of the men involved guilty and sentenced them to rigorous imprisonment for varying terms.
The Kerala High Court, however overturned this ruling. It acquitted all 35 convicted rapists and found only one of them (the man who kidnapped and ‘sold’ the girl) guilty of crimes related to the sex trade and sentenced him to a 5 years jail term and a fine of Rs 50,000. The reason for the acquittal was political pull, specially that of the accused P.J. Kurien, who was a former Union Minister and member of the Congress party the current party in power! Of course all men had to be acquitted together, since they were in the crime together, otherwise they would have testifyed against each other! The police made no other arrests in the case!
The court that acquitted Kurien and the others said they had a witness testifying that Kurien was not in the guest house at the time of the rape. However, that same said that he actually testified that he had seen Kurien in the guest house, around the time the victim was raped there! He said the police officer in charge had changed his statement to protect Kurien, and a number of bribes were also offered to him for his silence! Furthermore, the one man convicted in the case has also testified that Kurien was in the guest house but that he was pressurized by the investigating officer to not testify against Kurien! Despite thisthe government has refused to remove Kurien from office and re-try his case with the new evidence emerging against him!
Over the years, the victim and her family had to move houses constantly, and still continue to be ostracized by society, and face harassment from various quarters. The harassment increased because the victim refused to retract Kurien’s name from the list of men who had raped her!
Watch the video above to understand how this victim and her family have been further victimized by the political system over the last 16 years.
In January 2013, the government of India released a new anti-rape law in response to the ground-breaking Verma Committee report on rape and sexual violence on women in India. Of the many recommendations of the Verma Committee, a key one was for the government to ensure that no politician charge-sheeted with rape be allowed to be in office, which the law in India currently permits.
The government however made a complete MOCKERY of this recommendation. On February 19, when the Rape Ordinance was discussed in Parliament it was chaired by P. J. Kurien !
The mother of the victim, had written a letter to Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the Congress party, who is also Kurien’s boss, saying, “… How can he (Kurien) chair the discussions when the ordinance aiming at the emancipation of womanhood in India promulgated by the Union of India with regard to the sexual offences against women in the Upper House of Parliament…(is about to be considered).” But Sonia Gandhi has her own vested interest in protecting rapist politicians, since many of them are in her party, and had organized the rape of Sikh women in Delhi in 1984! For more click here.
However, there was worse! The most humiliating blow to the Suryanelli victim was delivered in May 2013 by the U.S. organization Women Deliver, when invited Kurien as a guest speaker at their global conference on women’s reproductive rights! Later, Women Deliver just swerved past this blow they had served to the Suryanelli victim by saying, they didn’t know! They never even apologized directly to the victim! TO READ OUR POST ON THIS TO TELL WOMEN DELIVER TO OFFICIALLY APOLOGIZE CLICK HERE.