Kerala CPM leader and State Women’s Commission chairperson M C Josephine triggered a new controversy with her statement that the CPM is capable of acting as police and court at the same time and there was no need to intervene in a sexual harassment case if a survivor has approached the party.
Josephine was responding to a question on the Commission’s indifference in rape cases in which CPM leaders are accused. The state’s women’s Commission chief turned a blind eye to several CPM leaders who were involved in rape cases including the one rape-murder of two minor Dalit children.
Earlier, she had made a controversial statement that “if I am subjected to sexual harassment, I will go to the party rather than to the police.”
In a sexual harassment case involving CPM MLA PK Sasi in which he had allegedly sexually harassed a DYFI woman activist, the woman’s panel chief said “the party is capable of giving justice to the victim”. Josephine had stirred up a controversy as she hesitated to take suo-motu against the MLA. She had justified her stand and defended the CPM by saying “mistakes do happen”.
In this case, CPM had appointed a party commission to inquire into it. It comprised of State Cabinet Minister A.K. Balan and PK Sreemathi, both are the comrades-in-arms of the accused! At last, the Commission found that the sexual harassment was of ‘low intensity’ and there was no ‘physical’ assault or misbehaviour!
Demanding her resignation over the irresponsible statement, BJP state president K Surendran termed it as a mockery towards the legal system of the country. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala also criticised Josephine and said she lost all moral right to continue as women’s commission chairperson.