PK Sasi sexual harassment row: CPI (M) probe report casts aspersions on conduct of woman

Writer and activist Sara Joseph has stated that she would not participate in the Women’s Wall event being organised by the CPI(M) until PK Sasi was expelled from the party.
PK Sasi sexual harassment row: CPI (M) probe report casts aspersions on conduct of woman
PK Sasi sexual harassment row: CPI (M) probe report casts aspersions on conduct of woman
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The CPI(M)’s hypocrisy in its approach towards PK Sasi’s sexual misconduct allegations continues in its internal probe report. The internal probe report lists out 11 points, which seem to cast aspersions on the conduct and nature of the woman complainant, while ignoring or belittling the complaints made against Sasi, merely calling it “conversation improper for a political leader”. It further casts doubts on the complainant’s testimony and reveals no plans of taking further action against PK Sasi. 

In August, the complainant, a member of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the Marxist party, had accused the party’s Shornur MLA, PK Sasi, of multiple instances of sexual harassment at the Mannarkkad party office in Palakkad and speaking to her in an innuendo-laden tone over phone. However, the CPI(M)’s internal probe - conducted by Law Minister A K Balan and MP PK Sreemathy - states that the sexual misconduct could not have taken place at the office on the specified days, as the office was extremely crowded on those days, and Sasi’s door was, allegedly, at no point closed during the time the complainant said he sexually harassed her.

It further tries to insinuate that the allegations of sexual misconduct are false by making the dangerous assertion that the complainant, a long-standing DYFI member, did not make any mention of the incident to other party members for a long period of time.

It also states that the Rs 5,000, which the complainant alleged was given to her by Sasi to ensure she didn’t speak about the harassment, was in fact given to help coordinate volunteers and make arrangements for a “Red Volunteer” event on behalf of the party.

The report also casts veiled aspersions on the complainant’s character, by stating that she allegedly “socialises with all”.

While going out of its way to prove that Sasi did not commit any acts of sexual harassment in the Mannarkad office, the report, however, does quote the phone calls made by Sasi to the survivor woman, where he told her, “I have a peculiar affection towards you” and “What is the danger that we touched each other when I feel respect for you”.

This report was first submitted to the CPI(M) state committee on November 26, after which PK Sasi was suspended from the party's primary membership for six months. The committee observed that though Sasi has not made any sexual advances, the party can take action against Sasi for the telephonic conversation he had made with the complainant.

After the report was released, CPI(M) Kerala’s founding member and former Chief Minister of Kerala VS Achuthananthan also reportedly wrote a strongly-worded message to the CPI(M) Central Committee demanding a better and more meaningful enquiry into the complaint, and that stricter action is taken against PK Sasi.

Meanwhile, in an interview to Mathrubhumi News on Saturday, prominent writer and activist Sara Joseph stated that she would not participate in the upcoming Women’s Wall event, being organised by the CPI(M) on January 1 to raise awareness on the Sabarimala temple women’s entry issue, until PK Sasi was expelled from the Communist Party. Speaking about the CPI(M) internal probe report, she said, “PK Sasi must be handed over to the police. I will not take part in any function organised by a party that says what Sasi did was not wrong.”

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