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Tell @WomenDeliver to Apologize to the #Suryanelli #Gang #Rape Victim!

May 30, 2013

kurien_defiant2_338x225In May 2013, the U.S. based women’s organization, Women Deliver, had invited Indian politician J. S. Kurien, a man implicated in of the one highest profile gang-rape / sex trafficking cases (the Suryanelli case) of a teenage girl in India, to speak at their 2013 conference on women’s reproductive empowerment!

A 16-year-old school girl in the town of  Suryanelli was kidnapped, held hostage for 40 days, during which she was raped by the 42 men she had been ‘sold’ to.  When she was finally found, she was so battered and had lost so much blood the doctors said, a few more days and she’d be dead! To read the full story click here.

Kurien was one of the accused in this case.  He was identified by face by the victim but never arrested.  The government continued to protect him just as they continue to protect other rapists in government.  Indian feminists have been fighting for long against the government and the system to clean these politicians out.  Early in 2013 a team of three Chief Justices headed by Justice Verma delivered a powerful report on sexual violence on women in India, and one of its strongest demands was that these politicians be removed from office and tried.

The Suryanelli case and Kurien’s key role in derailing it has been the focus of the fight between Indian feminists and the government, to get rapist politicians out of power and clean the system.   For more on this fight click here. kurienThis is why feminists in India are furious!  Kurien’s invitation by Women Deliver is not only a massive humiliation for the Indian feminist movement, but it is a belittling of the enormity of the challenge we are facing.


It is like a slap on our face, specially given the high profile people Kurien spoke alongside.   Other speakers were Melinda Gates Babatunde Osotimehin (head of the U.N. Population Fund),Helen Clark ( head of the U.N. Development Fund), Chelsea Clinton! 

When women’s groups in India who have been fighting for justice in this case for years, objected, Women Deliver delivered  this statement. “We were unaware that Indian Parliamentarian PJ Kurien is facing allegations of rape. While we cannot comment on the specific allegations, had we known of the controversy, we would not have permitted PJ Kurian to speak at the side event. Addressing violence against women is central to our mission as an organization and one of the focus areas of this global conference.

Is this a statement of support for the victim and the women’s movement in India?

Is this a statement of apology to the victim and the women’s movement in India?

If this victim was American would Women Deliver deliver this kind of  statement?

Would a statement like this be acceptable to western feminist groups had this been a victim in their country and this was a ridiculing of their fight against violence?

Doesn’t Women Deliver owe the Suryanelli victim a direct apology?





45 Comments leave one →
  1. ANN HARFORD permalink
    May 30, 2013 6:34 pm

    is the prime minister unaware of the publicity surrounding this poor womans the prime minister blind and deaf.even without the seriousness of this case surely at the highest level in the country she knows that women, her own gender, fight to be respected every minute of every day.she MUST put a powerful effort into womens causes and stand out to the world as a supporter of EVERY WOMENS RIGHTS TO BE COUNTED.
    she is their leader she must show by example,respect,especially in a country riddled with manmade laws insulting the status of every single female

    • May 31, 2013 10:50 am

      This man belongs to the same political party as the Prime Minister and the party has been protecting him. In fact the party has been protecting other politicians who have encouraged rape on women for political vendetta. See this article

  2. Bonnie Morr permalink
    May 30, 2013 7:01 pm

    I am sorry that the wealthy are immune to these types of atracities. Also they are a group that is about the wealthy. Too bad they aren’t looking at woman that actually are trying to raise the standard for woman. Shame on the rich for not looking past their nose

  3. Brad Cousins permalink
    May 30, 2013 7:24 pm

    How can such a travesty of injustice be allowed? How can it be condoned and how can the Indian government continue to ignore the rights of Indian women by allowing this rapist to remain in parliament ? lt is truly mind boggling.

  4. sesona permalink
    May 30, 2013 7:58 pm

    he must no be allowed to participate. this goes against the efforts of treating women and children as equals in our planet.

  5. sana permalink
    May 30, 2013 7:59 pm

    On what basis was he invited? What happened to the case against him? How did the authorities permit him?

  6. shelby permalink
    May 30, 2013 8:35 pm

    Withdraw that invitation! He has no business being on that stage, addressing these important women’s issues, when he has been accused! Melinda, Helen, and Chelsea should refuse to stand next to him!

  7. Sylvia Davies permalink
    May 30, 2013 9:02 pm

    This is ludicrous. How in heavens name did he get into the conference.

  8. May 30, 2013 9:19 pm

    Inviting this guy to a conference on women’s rights is unconscionable. If this had happened here in the U.S., the 16 year old guy would be labeled and have to register as a sex crime offender for the rest of his life. So why are we letting this Indian off the hook. Worst, why are we inviting him to speak as an authority on women’s rights? India treats rape as nothing more than an inconvenience with no regards to the victim. No one from that culture should be invited to speak as an authority. It is just as ridiculous as inviting a former member of the Taliban to speak.

  9. May 30, 2013 9:56 pm

    unbelievable. yet another level of mass hypnosis.

  10. Sid Kere permalink
    May 31, 2013 12:13 am

    As we all know, the 1984 Sikh massacre cases are still going on – after 29 years. Nobody of any consequence has ever been convicted, even after names were named in four official enquiry commissions so far. In the Bhopal gas leak tragedy of the same year after over 25 years of trials and appeals three or four officials were sentenced to a few months up to a year in jail — for the agonizing death of over 3000 men, women and children. Such being the state of criminal justice in India, it is doubtful Mr Kurien will ever face a trial.

  11. May 31, 2013 12:17 am

    petition signed! And of course, Hillary and now Chelsea Clinton, were involved in this also!

    • May 31, 2013 1:07 pm

      I presume that Hillary and her daughter know about the background of those invited to attend and speak at the conference. Those attending would have to be vetted, who carried out the invites and security. Those involved have suffered a huge loss of face, do they have no respect for themselves.

    • June 1, 2013 9:17 pm

      Probably Chelsea and the other speakers may not have known about Kurien’s history. But once they once it is so important for them to speak out and support the Indian women in their fight for this young woman.

  12. May 31, 2013 12:17 am

    The key words, despite the tone of this post are “accused” and “pending”. Although the man may be accused, there is not case pending against him. It is time that the “press”, the media, and especially the internet stopped “making” the news instead of reporting it. There is no question that violence against women is a severe problem, worldwide, not just in India, but let us distinguish between accusations (even those with supposed “witnesses” since witness testimony is notoriously unreliable and biased by prior testimony, and let the courts decide.
    Yes, petitions have a place, AFTER a conviction, or even advocating a trial be commenced, but the language (English) is vague enough as it is, please let us not obscure facts further by assuming that accusation is guilt, or that association to guilt is necessarily either intentional or a hanging offense.
    Inciting masses to ACTION based on accusations is exactly the kind of violation of the principles of “free speech” as calling out “fire” in a crowded theatre, especially when the only “evidence” of “fire” is something that “looks like smoke” which could be nothing more than a wisp of wind stirring up dust.
    Let’s determine if the dust IS, in fact, smoke, and the meaning of said smoke, if, indeed there is any at all.
    I too am abhorred by the widespread, and unpunished violence against women. It calls to mind and indeed it almost surprises me that Swedish suicide rates are not outpaced by violated women in India and the entire South Asia continent, based on the current reports.
    By all means, prosecute the offenders, impose SEVERE penalties, but let’s not condemn accused political figures who have plenty of detractors not above spreading rumours to discredit them for political purposes. Justice requires truth, and that is usually best judged by the legal system, not public outcry.

    Stafford “Doc” Williamson

    • May 31, 2013 10:44 am

      So in your country Doc Stafford would a man who is accused of gang rape (but who has been resisting trial and arrest and has political clout) be invited to speak at a women’s conference on women’s empowerment?

    • May 31, 2013 3:26 pm

      Thank you …This is a very important comment and should be prominently displayed in order to achieve balanced reporting

  13. shekhar permalink
    May 31, 2013 12:54 am

    Actually theres not just one but many kuriens in indian political system at various levels. This also shows hypocrisy of other nations to allow people like kurien to speak or share the same stage and not opposing his participation…its just an international facade for women empowerment. The real change, atleast in india, will not come till children are not taught moral values and real importance of it at school level and as family values. Also strong laws and implementation is required – but everybody needs to change as politician are just a mass representation of general consciousness. Its a shame where indian society & education system is headed..mostly after money and power.

  14. Melissa Holland permalink
    May 31, 2013 2:18 am

    Its time women stood up for themselves, I walk behind no man, I cator to no one. I am the life giver and I expect repect. We all deserve equality, these 3rd countries and countries that refuse modern thinking should realize without us there wont be future generations!

  15. ethel permalink
    May 31, 2013 2:44 am


  16. zackforester permalink
    May 31, 2013 3:04 am

    Accusations aren’t the same as charges or sentences.

    • May 31, 2013 10:46 am

      In a rape case when a rape victim picks out rapists the police is required to arrest and put the man on trial. Instead the police has consistently threatened and pressurized the victim and the other eyewitnesses to change their statement.

    • May 31, 2013 10:58 am

      True. But we ask you Zackforester in your country would a man in a pending gang rape be openly invited to speak at a women’s empowerment symposium? Would you say the same then? Also read the whole case here to understand what this case is really about and why the powerful politicians are protected from rape and murder charges in India. Also read this on how politicians with rape and murder charges continue to serve in government.

  17. Donna permalink
    May 31, 2013 4:22 am

    It seems the statement/ accusation of Kurien being involved has been retracted just 1 day ago. I hope Kurien isn’t a victim himself of one of the accused naming him with out credible evidence and then trial by media. I’ll have to keep an open mind on this one for the time being until further evidence is revealed.

  18. G S Singh permalink
    May 31, 2013 9:40 am

    It is unfortunate that the organizers of an event do not see the history of speakers or invitees. Sometimes you feel that event organizers have their own hidden agenda. Those who are really concerned are left in the dark and those who are influential no matter how much coorupt they are would get all the attention. Sad very sad….

  19. A P Javkhedkar permalink
    May 31, 2013 10:03 am

    It is really shame that people like Kurien are not brought to books but are sheltered. It is travesty of justice. We Indians hang our heads with shame.

  20. Nanu.T permalink
    May 31, 2013 12:25 pm


  21. madhu agrawal permalink
    May 31, 2013 6:48 pm can a person torture a woman so.? guess it is time for the taliban system of punishment–immediate and more than equal punishment –in public too!

  22. Roopchand Nandan permalink
    May 31, 2013 7:07 pm

    I agree 100% with everything that I just read. Where are we today because of those conferences? Nowhere, its a game of governments protecting governments, its very simple. Who is going to take a righteous stand to such disgraceful excuse for power? When one individual is infected like a virus, its friends and neighbours are as well that much infected and therefore that body of infection must be cleansed.

  23. June 1, 2013 6:46 am

    Well, all I can say is that I totally agree with G S Singh. They absolutely have their own hand in many of these happening worldwide. This group of women belong on the same stage as this guy they are also to blame since they are in bed with people like Bill Gates who rapes children of their own abilities to perform cognitively and physically and kills tens of thousands of children forcing the governments with his vaccinations and his monies are supporting the FDA now which only has one agenda which is MONEY coupled with Bill’s agenda to depopulate, they have a win win combination. No one can stop them. Looking at it in retrospect it really is the same thing so these women can claim all the innocence and seem to be the saviors just remember my words. Many of these so called “helping” rich people portray themselves as they are this and that the rich helping the poor but remember these are the same people in the same group with the rich that want these things actually happening. It furthers their progress in their own societal circles. I know you probably won’t believe me but as things unfold over the next few years you all will know the truth on relying on this group to dictate your agendas.Sorry my English is bad as it is my 2nd language.

  24. Jill Pirdas permalink
    June 1, 2013 12:57 pm

    My brother lives in India working with all those who are marginalized in his area, these include women who suffer discrimination because of their sex, caste, lack of the possibilities of decision making etc. I spend much time and energy in helping fund the organisation, however I did not sign the first petition against Kurien because I was not certain of his guilt in this terrible case of gang rape. It is so easy to click on a button. I agree that before inviting a man as a speaker at an important function the organizers should do their homework. Please believe that I support your campaign for the missing women of India in every way, but I did feel a little uneasy in this case about pointing fingers.

    • June 1, 2013 9:15 pm

      Jill — We have been a little surprised that most of the comments we are getting supporting Kurien on this are from western women. Is it because Indian women have protested a western women’s meet inviting a man that they have been fighting to get to court for the last 15 years and who has political immunity? Tell us what your response would be if a 16 year old was gang raped in your country. One of the men who she identifies by face is a man called K who is politically well-connected. She says that when she realized who he was, she begged him to save her, but he just raped her and left. After that the police threaten other witnesses to change their testimony. They refuse to even arrest Kurien (which in all countries once you are identified you have to be arrested and tried). And the young girls family is hounded. Their jobs are taken, they run from town to town seeking safety. Kurien is politically powerful and he is one of many politicians in India who continues to serve in government despite a pending rape case because the law in India which dates to the British times allows politicians with records of crimes against women (rape and murder) to serve. British men raped and killed with impunity. Politicians today continue to enjoy that privelge despite a massive fight by the Indian women’s movement to change the law. The current government headed by Sonia Gandhi has refused to change this law. If this was true in your country, and say India invited this man accused and absconding, how would you respond? How would the women of your country respond?

  25. June 1, 2013 2:11 pm

    I agree with both “stafford.doc.williamson” and “Sid Kere”. And I also understand the point that “empowering women”, as a discussion issue, being held in a 5 star hotel in a tropical place is a bit of an irony…
    Each and everyone of you has a point. Which one though is closer to the heart of the problem? I tend towards “Sid”, but I will keep an eye and follow your stories…

    • June 1, 2013 9:37 pm

      Katrina — If a teenage girl in your country was kidnapped and raped and she identified the rapist by face as a powerful politician, who is then not arrested, and who then intimadates her, other witnesses, hounds her family out of their jobs and home, and has the goverment protecting him even as women’s groups fight to get him arrested and tried, you would think it is ok if Indian women invited him to a women’s conference in India?

  26. Sudhakar permalink
    June 2, 2013 12:12 am

    I beg almighty that justice prevails and culprits should be punished. Hope this poor minor girl case is investigated soon. I cant imagine what pain she might have undergone.

    Request god not to give such heart to any one to cause such pain. Also dont make any soul to undergo such pain.

  27. June 3, 2013 3:35 am

    Women in India seem to rate no where, this is wrong wrong wrong. Women should be an equal person in everything, Prime minister and government what you are doing is wrong and disgusting, you are a pariah and women especially suffer. WOMEN ARE EQUAL IN IRELAND, AND WOULD ACCEPT NOTHING LESS, GIVE YOUR WOMEN EQUALITY, because it will happen eventually, you should also know the spotlight of the world is on you. You are protecting a rapist, that is henious

  28. June 4, 2013 12:18 pm

    transparency is necessary, and you are working for that with great effect. Good that you do not have the focus on military secrets – you would end in prison – like the wikileaks supporter actually in the USA.

  29. June 4, 2013 12:32 pm

    Reblogged this on REVOLUTIONS IN MY SPACE: A BLOG BY RITA BANERJI and commented:

    There are Indian feminists who are saying, Women Deliver made an apology. And that’s it? How can they get away with this? There is a global feminist hierarchy. Can the feminists in India do with a western rape victim what this global feminist group did with an Indian rape victim and get away with just a statement?

  30. the common indian permalink
    June 8, 2013 10:37 am

    High time the politicians got their act together and kicked out this corrupt immoral person.

    • Roopchand Nandan permalink
      June 13, 2013 5:01 am

      Failure on their part to comprehend where these sub-humans are in the whole of the evolution of the human species, be it known or make them know God burns those that defile women and children, there will be no forgiving of their sins to the Father, for theirs is the doom of their society, and there will be no place in the future for ignorance, incompetence, or sheer stupidity, I piety them.

  31. June 13, 2014 1:23 am

    Wow that was odd. I jusst wrote an extrdemely lojg commment bbut after I clicked
    submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, justt
    wanted to say wonderful blog!


  1. No Justice After 16 Years for the #Suryanelli #Gang #Rape Victim! | THE 50 MILLION MISSING CAMPAIGN BLOG ON INDIA'S FEMALE GENDERCIDE
  2. @Women Deliver muss sich beim Opfer der #Gruppenvergewaltigung von #Suryanelli entschuldigen! | The 50 Million Missing Campaign: "50 Millionen verschwunden"

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