Kovalam MLA M Vincent is currently in Neyyantinkara district prison.
He was arrested not for holding public protests or initiating a social change but on charges of sexual harassment filed by a woman who also resides in the same neighbourhood as the MLA. The woman, a housewife, has given her statement to the magistrate and the police saying that she was compelled to attempt suicide after six months of severe physical and mental harassment and threatening. The investigating team found strong evidences in the case. The details of the phone conversations and other evidences in the case have also been presented before the court. But the Congress has taken a stance that the MLA needn’t resign from his post and that the case was ‘politically motivated’. Vincent has been removed from all the official duties. However, a party, that still comprises MLAs and MPs against whom similar allegations have been raised earlier continuing to hold their positions, lacking the moral power to demand a resignation, is only natural.
The Left Front as well lack the nerve to fearlessly demand Vincent’s resignation. The Chief Minister has said that the government would intervene in such matters to curb down the predators who insult womanhood, whoever it was and bring them before the law to award the deserved punishment. It had also said that the present government was committed towards ensuring the safety and equal justice to women. A Minister in the Pinarayi government lost his position in the wake of allegations of sexual abuse. He still continues to hold his post as an MLA. In the prominent rape case involving the Municipality councilor of Vadakkanchery in Thrissur district, the party didn’t back the victim. In fact the party leadership had publicly shamed the woman. It is in the backdrop of this moral decline of the political parties and individuals that the statements of the Chief Minister are seen as a mere political gimmick. Sexual abuses carried out by politicians and the biggies in the society mirrors the cultural decay at present. Therefore the sexual exploitations of those in high posts should be considered as a criminal offence akin to corruption.
Kerala is being disgraced by the various reports of sexual violence carried out by those with power and influence. Incidents of sexual harassments take place in public spheres particularly in political and film sectors. The reality do not cease to exist merely by denying or neglecting the truths. Cherian Philip who hinted at sexual exploitations taking place in political spheres was forced to apologise eventually. How trivially was the statements of the Women in Cinema Collective about the issues of sexual harassment in the film industry handled? There are political leaders as well as celebrated film stars who were involved in the Abhaya murder case and the Suryanelli case where the victim has been living in pain and humiliation due to denied justice. However, none of them were punished. Even today they continue to reign as powerful leaders and influential celebrities basking in the glory of their stardom. It’s because in our legal system, justice for the victims is indefinitely delayed providing several opportunities for those with power to wipe out the cases and make way for escape by influencing the witnesses. They are those who have learnt the tricks and tactics to reclaim their power and stature after a temporary disgrace.
How could expecting morality and virtuousness, qualities that aren’t practiced in personal life, from the society, be justified? Deeming to resist moral decay with social statures, political influences and legal protection, is a futile dream. There are no shortcuts to reach the pinnacle of morality without practicing justice and ethics in personal lives. Credibility should begin from individuals. The public spheres that have been marred cannot be cleansed without nurturing the consciousness that morality and credibility wouldn’t be violated, into a lesson for the society.