A worried CPI(M) brass instructed Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to launch damage control measures to contain the fallout of the molestation of a top Malayalam actor, sources told HT.
According to insiders, the CPI(M) is desperate to avoid a blot on its government over women’s safety in Kerala which has the highest literacy rate.
The party which is vociferous in attacking the Trinamool Congress over atrocities on women in West Bengal, also risks losing the high ground in the state where it is grappling to retain footprint.
Sources said that CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury spoke to Vijayan on Monday and “discussed” ways to handle the situation.
“We had a detailed discussion on the issue,” Yechury told HT.
The party was also quick to react as the RSS, a strong adversary of the Left in Kerala, tried to project the incident as a collapse of the law and order in the state. “We take note of such incidents,” said politburo member Hannan Mollah, “The RSS tries to make anything and everything in Kerala as a national issue.”
For Vijayan, who became chief minister for the first time last year, the molestation of the top heroine has become an acid test. His government is under intense pressure to arrest all the accused in the molestation case and ensure their prosecution.
The police have arrested six people so far in the case that has shaken the people and the film industry alike.
The popular actor was allegedly taken hostage on the way from Thrissur to Kochi on Friday and molested for by a seven-member gang. The criminals took pictures and videos to blackmail her before letting her go.
In West Bengal the CPI(M) has been an active critic of the atrocities against women under Mamata Banerjee’s rule. Be it the gang rape in Kolkata’s famous Park Street and the rape and murder of a young woman in Kamduni, the party has been at the forefront of protests.
Even as chief minister Mamata Banerjee insists her state remained the safest place for women, the Marxists claim otherwise. And now, the high-profile molestation case could also be cited by Trinamool to counter the Left’s criticism.