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Denials, sobs over woman guard episode in Kerala assembly

Friday October 14, 2011 10:19:12 PM, IANS

Thiruvananthapuram: A woman guard was allegedly manhandled inside the Kerala assembly by two Left legislators. Young first-time CPI-M legislator T.V. Rajesh sobbed in full media glare in front of the assembly Friday evening and denied he had manhandled a woman guard who stopped them from going towards the speaker's podium earlier in the day.

James Mathew and Rajesh, both first-time CPI-M legislators, were alleged to have manhandled a woman guard. Both denied the allegation.

The two were speaking to the media after party leaders in the assembly from both the treasury and opposition benches along with Speaker G. Karthikeyan examined the full video recording of the episode.

Emerging from the evening video examination meeting, government Chief Whip P.C. George said the visuals clearly showed the two legislators advancing menacingly towards the speaker's podium.

"The visuals show the lady guard falling down and maybe these two legislators might not have known in the melee that it was a woman guard. It is very clear that she was manhandled and all of us saw her crying. The speaker will meet all of us again Monday morning," said George.

Mathew said he is prepared to resign as legislator if it is proved that he manhandled the woman guard.

"It is very unfortunate that baseless allegations have been levelled by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who is a 41-year veteran, and Finance Minister K.M. Mani, who has 46 years experience as a legislator. We both are young legislators and it is so unfortunate that we are being maligned," said Mathew, who has written to the speaker to allow him to see the visuals.

Senior Communist Party of India (CPI) leader C. Divakaran, who saw the visuals, said "there is no element of truth in the allegations levelled by the treasury benches".

"There is nothing that shows that our two legislators manhandled the woman guard. The government is using this issue to deflect the real issue of bad and ineffective governance. We will even consider taking legal steps against the Minister for Rural Development, K.C.Joseph, who aired baseless allegations," said Divakaran.

Earlier in the day, Deputy Leader of Opposition Kodiyeri Balakrishnan stood up in the assembly to find out why the government was delaying suspension of an assistant commissioner of police who fired four pistol rounds to disperse a student mob at Kozhikode last week.

Following that, some opposition members moved towards the speaker's podium and started raising slogans. The guards, standing outside, came inside and stopped them. The house was later adjourned.

Joseph said, "Two opposition legislators, Rajesh and Mathew, manhandled a lady watch and ward staff, which is a shame. This is the first time ever such an incident is taking place on the floor of the assembly."








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