People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
ATTACK ON LADY MAYOR
Kerala Witnesses Widespread Protest
ON September 11, Kerala witnessed statewide demonstrations, torchlight procession and public meetings at panchayat centres and in many other areas, in protest against the attack on Thiruvananthapurams lady mayor on September 6 and against the police attack on AIDWA leaders and workers on September 8.
On September 8, the demonstrators belonging to the All India Democratic Womens Association (AIDWA), who were going to meet the city police commissioner to give him a memorandum, were stopped by the police en route and their leaders manhandled. Soon the demonstrators were also lathicharged and 12 of them had to be hospitalised. Police officers later promised stern action in the case of attack against the lady mayor. Four employees of the corporation were then arrested, but then they were let out on bail. The arrested employees are activists of the pro-Congress(I) organisation of Kerala municipal employees.
On the other hand, in a letter sent to Kerala chief minister A K Anthony, through the Kerala governments commissioner in New Delhi on September 11, the AIDWA protested the shameful assault on the said lady mayor, Smt Chandra, on September 6. Though four employees of the corporation were suspended in connection with this assault, the AIDWA said it is regrettable that no action had been taken against Maheswaran Nair, a corporator belonging to the chief ministers Congress party, who was not only present but abetted the physical assault.
Saying that this was probably the first time in Keralas history that a woman mayor had been assaulted and a corporator was involved in it, the AIDWA letter said the issue goes beyond party labels. It women performing their official duties are not safe even in a state like Kerala, it can only act as a deterrent for women coming into public life. The letter demanded most stringent action against the said corporator so that no one dares to repeat such an action. Minimum norms of public life also demand the said corporators expulsion from the Congress party.
The letter condemned the role of the police officer who refused to accept the mayors complaint, and unfortunately no action was taken against him. This encouraged the male police to physically attack a protest demonstration organised by the AIDWA unit in Thiruvananthapuram. This went against the Supreme Court guidelines that very specifically state that only women police can deal with women demonstrators. The letter said it was necessary to take action against those responsible, and urged the chief minister to move in this regard.
The letter was signed by AIDWA general secretary Brinda Karat, secretary Subhashini Ali, vice president Premila Pandhe and treasurer Kalindi Deshpande. (INN)