Thursday Blog 14.3.13

Since time immortal we have seen human society repeating one thing again and again- when a poor man commits a crime the justice is meted out instantly. When a rich man commits the same or worse crime justice usually delays so long that it loses its meaning if it gets delivered at all.

The Suryanelli rape case concerns a 16-year-old girl who was sexually harassed and assaulted continuously for 40 days by 42 men in 1996. The girl from Suryanelli in Idukki district of Kerala in India was transported from place to place across Kerala. The accused included some well-known and well-placed individuals including the congress leader P J Kurien. The girl was enticed, threatened, abducted and sexually exploited by a bus conductor on January 16, 1996. Subsequently, she was transferred to the custody of two other persons, one of whom was a woman and the other an advocate (Indian lawyer or barrister). The duo presented her to several men, including prominent persons, in various places in Kerala. Terrorized, shocked and ill, she was on February 26 asked by her captors to go home. They gave her a small amount of money and threatened her with dire consequences if she told anyone about what had happened.
In 1999, under public pressure, the government set up the State’s first-ever Special Court to try a case of sexual assault. A serious inquiry conducted by a team led by Inspector-General of Police Sibi Mathew bringing the culprits to book.
On September 6, 2000, the Special Court sentenced 35 persons to rigorous imprisonment for varying terms. The first accused, conductor Raju, and second accused, Usha, were sentenced to 13 years of rigorous imprisonment with fine and an additional jail term of four years on different counts. Four of the accused were let off. Two others, including the key accused, advocate S.S. Dharmarajan, were absconding during the first phase of the trial.
On 20 January 2005, the Kerala High Court acquitted the 35 convicted earlier and found Dharmarajan guilty only of crimes related to the sex trade (procuring and selling a minor for purposes of prostitution). Accordingly, his sentence was reduced to five years and fines amounting to Rs. 50,000.
The victim of Suryanelli rape case had accused P J Kurien multiple times as one of her tormentors. The complaint alleged that Kurien had raped her at the Kumily guesthouse in Idukki district. Kurien was discharged by Kerala High Court on April 4, 2007 for the lack of evidence. Supreme Court of India dismissed a petition filed by Kerala Government challenging the High Court’s acquittal of P J Kurien.
On Feb 6 2012 the police arrested the Suryanelli case victim in connection with an alleged financial irregularity case. The case pertains to the charge that the victim had engaged in multiple financial irregularities worth Rs 2,26,000 while working in the Sales Tax Department, Changanassery in 2010. The irregularities had surfaced during auditing, after which she was placed under suspension. Later she was given a ‘punishment’ transfer to Kottayam where she is now employed. She was produced before a court in Changanassery which remanded her in judicial custody. It has been alleged that as her case is coming up for hearing in the Supreme Court of India, vested elements have set her up.
On Jan 31 2013 The Supreme Court set aside the Kerala High Court’s order acquitting 35 accused in the 1996 Suryanelli rape case in which a 16-year-old girl was gangraped for over 40 days. A bench headed by Justice A.K. Patnaik sent the case back to the High Court for taking a fresh look at it. The court passed the order on an appeal filed by Kerala challenging the acquittals in the case.
The High Court had found only one person guilty of crime related to sex trade and had sentenced him to five years in jail and a fine of Rs. 50,000.
The Supreme Court on January 31, 2013 had decided to hear on an urgent basis within three weeks the appeal against the acquittal of the 35 accused in the gang rape case.
The bench had given the assurance after it was brought to its notice that the appeal against the High Court verdict had been pending in the Supreme Court for the last eight years. The Supreme Court on January 31, 2013 set aside the Kerala High Court’s order acquitting 35 accused in the case. It was also reported that the victim of the Suryanelli rape case has sent a letter seeking to implicate Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha P. J. Kurien in the case.
On January 31, 2013, 36 out of the 40 men pled guilty for rape and human trafficking of the victim and 4 men are to face charges.
Some of the witness have confessed that the well known politician and Rajya sabha deputy chairman was involved in the heinous rape and assault on the victim, while the third accused, Dharmarajan, was arrested in Karnataka In February 2013, the victim filed a case in the High court against PJ Kurian.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION: APPARENTLY QUITE TRUSTWORTHY SITES OF INTERNET LIKE NEWSPAPERS (MOSTLY). This one is collected fully from Wikipedia. So it may be personal research fed by a reader or the actual truth. Go ahead and research if you want. I was touched by a letter written by the girl which was published in newspaper about the pain and harassment SHE is still suffering in form of social rejection. It’s amazing is not it?

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