Kerala Minister and NCP leader AK Saseendran stoked a massive controversy after asking a sexual harassment victim to agree to a compromise and ‘settle’ the case involving a party member.
According to the reports, Kerala Forest Minister Ak Saseendran is in a soup after an audiotape surfaced on Wednesday in which he was heard asking the complainant’s father, who is also an office-bearer of the NCP, to “solve” the sexual harassment case in a “nice manner”.
The victim woman, a member of BJP Yuva Morcha, accused NCP leader Padmakaran of making sexual advances by grabbing her hands and uttering lewd remarks. The victim had also said that her fake Facebook profile was created, and she was slandered through WhatsApp messages.
In the conversation, Saseendran was reportedly heard saying to the father, “There is some small case against our party people”. To which, the complainant’s father then said that his daughter is now a member of the BJP. “How should I solve it? They are BJP people,” he was heard saying.
“If it comes as a controversy, it is bad. You know how to solve it well. Don’t you know?” the minister replied.
Saseendran admits that he had made that call to the victim’s family
The victim’s had filed a complaint before the police on June 28, however, Kerala police did not register any case against the accused. Following that, AK Saseendran called the victim’s father, asking to settle the case amicably.
Meanwhile, following the outrage, Saseendran accepted that he intervened to solve a complaint against the fellow NCP leader, however, he claimed that he did not know about the molestation angle.
“When there was a complaint against party activists, I spoke to one of the party functionaries. At the time, he said it was his daughter, and so I asked him to solve it in a nice manner. I used the same word. He then asked me how, for which I responded, ‘you know that well’,” Kerala Forest Minister AK Saseendran said.
Opposition parties demand resignation, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan backs Kerala minister
Meanwhile, the opposition parties in Kerala have demanded AK Saseendran’s resignation.
BJP’s Kerala unit president K Surendran slammed the Forest Minister AK Saseendran for exerting pressure to suppress a molestation case. “He (AK Sassendran) even called the victim’s father and told him to ‘settle the case in a good way.’ Ministers like him is a disgrace to our democracy. He should resign.”
Forest Minister Mr.A.K.Saseendran has exerted pressure to suppress a molestation case filed against a local NCP leader. He even called the victim’s father and told him to ‘settle the case in a good way.’ Ministers like him is a disgrace to our democracy. He should resign.— K Surendran (@surendranbjp) July 20, 2021
In a tweet, the Congress party said, “Minister AK Sasindran has violated his oath of office by asking the girl’s father to settle the case. The Left government has transformed Kerala into a land of compromise on smuggling, murder and oppression of women”.
സ്ത്രീപീഡന കേസ് ഒത്തുതീർപ്പ് ആക്കണമെന്ന് പെൺകുട്ടിയുടെ പിതാവിനോട് ആവശ്യപ്പെട്ട് മന്ത്രി ശ്രീ എ.കെ ശശീന്ദ്രൻ സത്യപ്രതിജ്ഞ ലംഘനം നടത്തിയിരിക്കുകയാണ്. കള്ളക്കടത്തും കൊലപാതകത്തിനും ഒപ്പം സ്ത്രീപീഡനങ്ങളും ഒത്തുതീർപ്പ് ആക്കുന്ന നാടാക്കി ഇടതുപക്ഷ സർക്കാർ കേരളത്തെ മാറ്റി. pic.twitter.com/VLsI9cBZao— Congress Kerala (@INCKerala) July 20, 2021
Congress MLA PC Vishnunath moved a notice of adjournment motion in the Kerala assembly asking for AK Saseendran’s resignation and said that the minister has violated the oath of office by intervening in settling sexual harassment complaints.
However, Kerala Chief Minister came to AK Saseendran’s rescue by defending the Forest Minister claiming that he inquired on issues between two NCP leaders in Kollam.
“The complainant is the daughter of an NCP leader. It is learned that the accused is another NCP worker. The minister himself has made it clear to the public that the dispute between them was being inquired by the minister, as an NCP leader,” the Chief Minister said.
The Chief Minister said the state police chief would investigating as far as the delay in registering the case on the alleged sexual harassment complaint is concerned.
It is notable here that Saseendran had faced massive condemnation and criticism in 2017 after an audio recording of his vulgar phone conversation with a woman had gone viral. He had resigned from the minister’s post but was reinstated by the party later.