CPM probes sexual harassment allegation against MLA

CPM MLA P K Sasi

The CPM has commenced an internal probe into the allegation that a party MLA – P K Sasi – had sexually harassed a woman leader of the CPM-affiliated Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI). CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan confirmed on Tuesday that the party’s state unit had received a complaint regarding the abuse three weeks ago. Sasi, 61, is the MLA from Shoranur in Palakkad district.

The woman also wrote to the party’s central leadership, including general secretary Sitaram Yechury, regarding the abuse. Yechury told reporters in New Delhi that he received the complaint on Monday and the matter had been handed over to the state unit, as is “normal practice” in the party. The CPM politburo termed “baseless” media reports that the central leadership intervened and directed the state unit to initiate action. “All such complaints, as is the normal practice, will be dealt with by the concerned state committee; in this instance, the Kerala State Committee,” a statement from the CPM Central Committee office said.

“It has been made clear that there is no intervention of the central leadership. A complaint regarding the matter was received here three weeks ago and the party is taking appropriate action on it,” Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told reporters on Tuesday. The complainant is reported to have informed some of the party’s state leaders about the alleged abuse before deciding to approach the central leadership.

Reports quoting from the complaint said Sasi had tried to molest the DYFI leader and later, made sexually explicit remarks during phone calls to her. The MLA denied the allegations. He said he was not aware of the complaint but called it part of a “well-planned conspiracy”. “I’m not aware of any such complaint. My party has not informed me about it. If there is a probe within the party, as is being reported, I’m ready to face it. This is not the first time I’ve been targeted,” the MLA told reporters in Palakkad.

Earlier, amid reports that the allegation would be discussed at the party’s Palakkad district-level meetings scheduled on Tuesday, CPM district secretary C K Rajendran denied having received a complaint in this connection.

Leaders in the opposition Congress and the BJP have demanded registering of a case against the MLA and a clarification from leaders who allegedly failed to initiate action on the complaint.

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CPM probes sexual harassment allegation against MLA

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