Dear Mrs. Gandhi,
On behalf of more than 9,600 people that have called for Mr. P J Kurien, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha to lose his prestigious post, we urge you to act for the rights of women and force him to step down until a full and fair inquiry has been conducted into the gang rape charges against him.
The text of the petition addressed to Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi, now signed by over 9,695 people from across India reads:
"Right now, political leaders have a vital task to end India's rape epidemic. But too many politicians are compromised because they themselves face ongoing rape and sexual assault investigations. We demand you act on the Verma Committee's recommendations and remove your party support from all politicians and candidates who face rape or sexual assault charges. As an immediate first step, please remove P J Kurien, linked to the Suryanelli gang rape, from the Deputy Chairmanship of the Rajya Sabha before the start of the coming session of Parliament."
You can see our campaign here
This petition demonstrates that a mass of ordinary citizens, with no political vested interests, are very concerned that Parliamentarians who face outstanding rape and sexual assault allegations are the wrong people to lead on crafting anti-rape laws. At the heart of lawmaking on rape should be a burning commitment to ending the rape epidemic, not the same sort of anti-women, anti-victim thinking that results in a woman being raped every 22 minutes in India. If Mr. Kurien is truly innocent, instead of allowing his allies to blame the rape survivor, he should welcome a full investigation.
True justice is yet to be done. The survivor of the Suryanelli gang rape case has said repeatedly that the police were under pressure during this investigation to suppress evidence against Mr. Kurien because of his political power. The same Supreme Court that Mr. Kurien uses in his defence as having cleared him has now quashed the lower court order in this case.
The Congress Party cannot really claim to stand for the rights of women when their own partymen are accused of such serious crimes against women. This is the moment to stand with rape survivors across the country and show that the Congress Party is serious about protecting all women.That's why we urge you to do the right thing and use your leadership of the Congress Party to take the Deputy Chairmanship away from accused rapist Mr. P J Kurien.
With hope and determination,
Avaaz members in India
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