A woman leader of the All India Students' Federation (AISF), the student wing of the CPI, has alleged that she was sexually assaulted by leaders of the Students Federation of India (SFI), the student wing of the CPI(M) in Kottayam. She also accused them of using casteist slurs against her. The alleged incident took place after a clash broke out following the senate elections in the Mahatma Gandhi University on October 21. An FIR was registered in the case based on the womanâ€™s complaint. The CPI is one of the parties in the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala.
The woman leader has alleged that SFI leaders verbally abused her using casteist remarks and that they also sexually assaulted her by grabbing her chest and clothes.In her complaint, the woman has named Arsho, who is SFI Ernakulam district president, Amal, who is the SFI Ernakulam district secretary, Prajith K Babu and Arun, who is the personal staff member of General Education Minister V Sivankutty.
In her complaint, a copy of which TNM has accessed, the woman states that by around noon on October 21, when AISF leaders were about to leave the campus following the election, a group of SFI workers surrounded them and began to attack some male leaders of AISF.
"When I cried and requested them to stop it, they verbally abused me. They threatened to kill me if I stand against SFI, saying that 'I will be given a fatherless child'. Following this, they abused me by calling my caste name and grabbed my clothes and chest," the AISF leader says in her complaint.
In the election to the senate panel, SFI won in all 30 seats. In the past, SFI and AISF had contested together, against their main rival Kerala Students Union (KSU), which is the student wing of the Congress party. However, this year, KSU did not contest in the elections. According to local reporters, AISF's demand for one seat was not accepted by SFI, and they contested separately. The clash broke out over issues regarding campaigning.
A video following the alleged attack has gone viral on social media. In the video, the complainant can be seen standing beside police officers in the MG University campus, and hitting back atSFI leaders. She can be heard saying, "You can only defeat us by hitting us. But we are fighting with our ideology.. Don't become RSS persons."
The police have registered a case under various Indian Penal Code sections, including 143 (member of unlawful assembly), 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), and various sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, reports PTI.
Notably, the accused are not charged for allegations on sexual assault. When TNM spoke to officials of Gandhi Nagar police station in Kottayam that has registered the case, they refrained from disclosing the names of the accused SFI leaders stating that 'they cannot disclose the names without permission from higher authorities'.
While speaking to the media on October 22, the AISF leader said, "The SFI leaders abused me and made casteist remarks. They threatened to rape me," she told the media.
However, SFI, in a statement, rejected all the allegations and said the AISF was joining hands with the Congress and the BJP to demean the Left student wing organisation.
(With PTI inputs)