AK Saseendran, leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, had asked a woman to ‘amicably resolve’ a sexual harassment complaint she had logded.

Police Dispersing Water Cannon to Protesters who protested demanding Minister AK Saseendran's resignation PC/Screengrab Manorama News
news Protest Thursday, July 22, 2021 - 18:10

Kerala witnessed protests both inside and outside the Assembly demanding the resignation of Minister AK Saseendran, who asked a woman to ‘amicably resolve’ a complaint of sexual harassment she had lodged against a member of Saseendran’s party, the NCP. The protests happened even as the second session of the 15th Legislative Assembly began on July 22, Thursday. The United Democratic Front led by the Congress, the opposition in the state, protested in the House seeking the resignation of the minister. The opposition walked out of the Assembly when the Speaker denied permission for an Adjournment Motion demanding the Minister’s resignation.

The women and the youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)- the Mahila Morcha and Yuva Morcha- protested outside the Assembly Complex. The police arrested the workers as they tried to barge into the Assembly.  The Yuvamorcha workers gathered again outside the Assembly and the police used water cannons and tear gas shells at the protesters to disperse them. Meanwhile, Youth Congress workers staged a protest to the Kanayannur Taluk office in Ernakulam. The Mahila Congress, Women's Wing of the Congress, will stage a protest in front of the Secretariat demanding Saseendran'sn resignation in the evening.

AK Saseendran is currently the Minister for Forests and Wild Life Protection in Kerala. Representing the Elathur constituency in Kozhikode district, Saseendran is a leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, which is a constituent of the Left Democratic Front led by the Communist Party of India Marxist- CPI(M). 

Read: Kerala Minister tells woman’s father to resolve harassment complaint in ‘good way’

Saseendran tried to resolve a complaint filed by the woman with the Kundara police in Kollam against one G Padmakaran, who is a state committee member of the NCP. In a voice recording of a phone call that has been released in the media, Saseendran can be heard talking to the complainant woman's father asking him to resolve the issue in a 'good way'. The complainant alleged that Padmakaran grabbed her hand and humiliated her on social media. Saseendran later claimed that he did not the complaint involved sexual harassment.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the Assembly that what Saseendran did was to intervene in issues between party workers and it is being enquired if police action was delayed in the case. The complainant woman had questioned the CM's stand in 'supporting the accused Minister'. The woman had asked if the Minister would react in the same manner if it was his daughter who was harassed.

Watch the Video of the protest outside the Aseembly

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