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CPI(M) suspends Shoranur MLA for six months, Cong demands police

CPI(M) suspends Shoranur MLA for six months, Cong demands police

(Eds: Adding details, Congress' reaction) Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 26 (PTI) Acting nearly four months after receiving a sexual harassment complaint against party MLA P K Sasi, the ruling CPI(M) Monday suspended him for six months from its primary membership as the opposition Congress demanded a police probe. The decision in this regard was taken at the CPI(M) state committee meeting at AKG Centre, the party headquarters here. A Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) party worker had filed a complaint on August 14 before the party, alleging the MLA tried to sexually abuse her at the party office at Manarcaud in Palakkad. The woman had later forwarded the complaint to the party's national leadership, reportedly following a lukewarm response to it here. Reacting to the party decision, Sasi, the Shoranur MLA and Palakkad district secretariat member, said he "accepted it with both hands". The Left party, in a release, said Sasi was suspended from the CPI(M)'s primary membership for six months after it was found that he had conversed with the woman "in a manner not befitting a party leader". The decision would be implemented after getting the ratification from the party's central committee, the release said. The party had appointed a commission comprising Law Minister A K Balan and Kannur MP and central committee member P K Sreemathy to probe the charges. In its report, it stated that Sasi had not sexually assaulted the complainant, but conversed with her inappropriately. Sasi had earlier dismissed the allegation against him, saying it was a "well-planned conspiracy" to malign him politically. Opposition Leader in the State Assembly Ramesh Chennithala demanded that police register a case on its own as Sasi was found guilty of misconduct by the CPI(M). He said in a statement that in cases relating to sexual harassment against women, it is not the party which should conduct a probe and deliver a verdict. "The party probe is only an eyewash", he said. P K Sreemathy said the telephone conversation which Sasi had with the complainant was examined and it was found that some of his remarks were "inappropriate". The complaint was sent to CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat on August 14 and via an e-mail to CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury as well. The CPI(M) decision comes a day ahead of the Kerala Assembly session convening on Tuesday, which is likely to be stormy. PTI UD APR AAR