Writing for Malayala Manorama, well-known human rights and women-power activist Sunitha Krishnan rues the alarming fall in standards of the Malayali psyche which accords celebrity status to solar accused Saritha S Nair.
Holding the visual media as the main culprits for sensationalizing mere trivia as breaking news, Sunitha lashes out at the disgraceful hawking of criminal activities just to increase their TRP ratings.
â€śThe media should stop wasting time on such people who become stars only because they are thrust into the limelight. The lady who is accusing others has been involved in a lot of criminal cases. Should her words be the ones that we need to rely on every morning?
She expresses anguish at all Malayalis who were quick to heap scorn on the Suryanelli and Paravur sex-victims while coolly exalting a woman with a dubious past, all for the secret pleasure of a peeping Tom.
â€śThe people of the state, who heap scorn on the victims of sexual abuses in Suryanelli or Paravur, do not think twice to celebrate people like the accused lady in the solar scam. Is this correct?â€ť Sunitha Krishnan writes.
The activist concludes,"The unfolding of the events has certainly maimed empowerment of women. Can a woman now approach officials with the intent to start a business? Even if she goes, would not officials ensure that she is not carrying a mobile?"
Taking her on is another popular cinema-theatre personality-cum-activist Parvathy T who considers Saritha as the face which Keralites have given to all the dirty laundering going on in the name of politics in the state.
In a rebuttal to Sunitha Krishnan published on the news portal SouthLive, Parvathy says she believes that although there have always been many women in the past who have been ready bait for our corrupt politicians, it took a Saritha to bravely take them on upfront despite all the odds stacked against her.
She also voices her dissent at Sunithaâ€™s take that because of Saritha, no respectable woman would ever feel safe in approaching government officials for any business or professional undertaking.
Any bureaucrat, politician or government official â€“Parvathy says- is approached for help only because they are considered synonymous with official authority to get things done the legal way. Hence a Saritha or any other women with a criminal past cannot be held up as a deterrent for other women entrepreneurs, emphasizes Parvathy.
Not just Parvathy, many others too have slammed Sunitha Krishnan for her stand, and for writing in Malayala Manorama, a paper that has been criticized of siding with Oommen Chandy, KM Mani and other politicians.
While Sunitha accuses the visual media of creating parallel courts where the accused are reportedly judged even before the law of the land has its final say in the matter, Parvathy prefers to view them as mere instruments in shedding light on all the corrupt poltical practices flourishing in Kerala.
Sunitha lambasts Saritha for degrading the violation of a womanâ€™s body as a mere tool of accusation and retraction, thereby making rape out to be some sort of a bargaining tool.
Parvathy however believes that the core issue under contention here is not that of Sarithaâ€™s integrity but that of the trust quotient of our politicians which must be brought under the scanner per force.
And if that takes a Saritha to do that, Parvathy is ready to bat for her, if need be. Sunitha however is all for the visual media to stop glorifying Saritha who she believes should rely on the courts rather than the media for justice.