“Do these judges not have daughters? Why don't they ever understand what I had to go through?” asks the 73-year-old mother of the infamous Suryanelli case victim.
The distraught mother’s comments come a day after the Supreme Court said that there were many 'points of disbelief' in the Suryanelli case.
Eighteen years after she was sexually exploited and abused, the Suryanelli victim from Kerala had finally got justice in April last year when the Kerala High Court convicted 27 out of the 31 accused. The case kept making headlines through these years, and more so because Rajya Sabha chairman PJ Kurien was alleged to have been involved in the crime, though his name was never added in the FIR or chargesheet.
But a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Deepak Mishra and Justice P C Pant asked why the victim who was 16 years old then, did not try to escape from her captors even once. The bench denied bail to all the 27 convicts, but asked why the girl did not escape from the clutches of her captors.
“It was a bail application hearing and the judge said all this. We have been taunted a lot; many courts and judges have said what they wanted about us. Now because of the latest comments, people will look at my daughter and says, ’Oh, she could have escaped, but did not,” the mother said.
There was a hint of defeat in her voice as she spoke about the judiciary. “Can any judge in this country say worse stuff about my daughter than what has already been told by Judge Basant? We are used to this now. No one understands the struggle my family went through, and what it took us to fight for justice,” she says.
Justice Basant, who was part of a Kerala High Court bench that had acquitted all the accused except Dharmarajan in 2005, was caught on camera in February 2013, after his retirement, casting aspersions on the victim.
"There was ample evidence to show the girl was used for child prostitution, which is not rape. I am not blaming her. The girl is not normal, she is deviant. All these are there in the judgment,” Justice Basant had said.
Reacting to the comments by the Supreme Court, Brinda Karat, CPI(M) Politburo member told The News Minute, "The comments were outrageous and unfortunate’. She said, “This attitude is a sad comment on the way things function in this country. To make such a comment about a minor who was repeatedly raped is to victimize the person. She has been repeatedly victimized by various courts in this country. It is a sad commentary on judiciary in the country.”
In an interview to B Geetha of Mathrubhumi Illustrated Weekly in 2005, the Suryanelli victim had explained what happened to her in detail.
She talks about the man called Raju who she used to frequent in a bus and later felt affection for. She explains how he forced her to elope with him and promptly handed her over to a woman called Usha. She then mention the first accused Dharmarajan who has been given life imprisonment by the Kerala HC.
“Dharmajan started harassing me. When I protested he twisted my hand and caught hold of my neck threatening to kill me. He beat me up and harassed me further. Later he took me to Ernakulam and Kumily. They used to forcibly put a white powder in my mouth and I felt sleepy soon. After tying my hands they poured brandy. Both Dharmajan and Jamal used to do this. They continued to beat me up and inflict pain. Fatigue conquered me often. During sleep, they used to wake me up and would continue the harassment. Once even I tried to hide in bathroom. They verbally abused me, beat me up; kicked and locked me inside the room when they were away. They took me to hotels and isolated houses in Ernakulam, Theni, Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram. Several times, they took me to Kumily.”
“I don’t have many friends. The existing ones are not interested in talking to me. I used to go to the church and office and spend rest of the time in my house. I have nowhere else to go. Relatives have already abandoned me…”
Read her full interview here.