Kerala Minister tells woman’s father to resolve harassment complaint

While the police are yet to take any action against the NCP leader who allegedly harassed the woman, Minister AK Saseendran allegedly tried to resolve the matter in a “good way” via a phone call.

On June 28, a woman from Kerala’s Kollam district filed a harassment complaint with the police against G Padmakaran, reportedly a state committee member of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is a constituent party of the Left Democratic Front (LDF). While Kundara police in Kollam are yet to take any action against Padmakaran, AK Saseendran, a Kerala Minister from NCP, allegedly tried to resolve the matter in a “good way” via a phone call. An audio clip of the alleged phone call between Minister Saseendran and the father of the woman surfaced on media on Tuesday, July 20, kicking up a row in the state.

In the complaint, the woman alleges that Padmakaran tried to humiliate her on social media, and that he grabbed her hand after the 2020 local body election. According to the family, the police are yet to register the case based on the complaint and that some NCP leaders had attempted to dissuade her from filing the complaint.

In the alleged call, Saseendran, who is serving as the Minister for Forests, Wild Life Protection in Kerala, can be heard talking to the woman’s father, asking him to resolve the issue in a “good way.” Incidentally, the woman’s father is a local NCP leader in Kollam. After identifying himself, the Minister enquired about the “problem in the party” in Kollam. As the woman’s father denied any knowledge of the issue within the party or what the Minister was talking about, Saseendran told him about the complaint against some NCP party workers.

To this, the woman’s father can be heard replying, “Sir, are you referring to the issue of Ganga Hotel’s owner, Padmakaran, grabbing my daughter’s hand?” Interrupting him, Saseendran said, “Yes, that is it. It should be ended in a good way.”

When the man asked the Minister to explain his insinuation of “good way,” Saseendran said it would be bad for everyone if the issue becomes a controversy. “If you say we can resolve it, tell me how,” the woman’s father asked. To this, AK Saseendran ended the call before saying that it can be further discussed later and not over the phone.

Reacting to the allegations, AK Saseendran admitted to calling the father and attempting to resolve the matter. “Padmakaran and the father of the woman are both my party members. When the issue came to my notice, I had the responsibility to ask them about it. I asked if it could be solved in a good way, then he explained things and ended the call saying we can talk later. I talked to him as he is part of my party,” Saseendran told the media.

However, speaking to media, the complainant woman said that the minister intervened to resolve the issue. “On the day I was to give my complaint, many NCP leaders called my father, saying the minister told them to call him. Two days later, the minister called,” the woman said.