Youth Congress workers burn effigy of Swetha Menon

Kollam (Kerala), Nov 3 (IANS) Angry Youth Congress workers in Kollam district of Kerala burnt an effigy of Malayalam actress Swetha Menon after reports that police here had registered a case against MP Peethamabara Kurup for allegedly groping her.

Shouting slogans against the actress, party activists walked through the main road in Kollam and warned that they would continue their protests against her.

"She is one lady who, in a Malayalam film ("Kallimannu"), allowed scenes of the delivery (of a baby) to be shot," said a Youth Congress leader while addressing the activists.

"Yes, the police have registered a case, and that is as it should be. I'm happy that the police have taken up a case. Now, I will deal with it in the legal way," Kurup, a member of the Lok Sabha, told reporters after hearing the news that a case had been registered under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent of outraging her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code against him.

Earlier Sunday, the Kollam District Congress Committee rallied in support of Kurup.

The actress has alleged that the lawmaker tried to grope her during a boat race in Kollam Friday, where she was one of the guests of honour.

On Saturday, she showed the "visuals" from TV channels, where the lawmaker was shown getting close to her during the boat race.

A team of four police officials from Kollam visited Swetha Menon Sunday at her flat here and recorded her statement of the sequence of events Friday.

After about 90 minutes, the police team left the house, but refused to divulge details to waiting reporters. The actress also refused to engage with the media and left for Bangalore with her family.

Sources close to the actress said she would also meet Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Tuesday, to file an official complaint.

"There was a huge crowd, and in a crowded place, some jostling happens. She complained after almost six hours. Nothing of the sort happened, as she claims," district Congress president Pratapa Varma Thampan said.

Kurup, who was also present at the conference with Thampan, did not speak much. He said he had already had a word with the actress and her husband.

"I do not wish to speak much, because the police is investigating the case," Kurup said.

Meanwhile Ayisha Potti, a CPI-M legislator from the district, registered a complaint with district collector B. Mohanan through an SMS.

Mohanan has been facing flak, as the actress has claimed that she spoke to him immediately after the incident. The official, however, has denied that the actress approached him.

Mohanan responded to the CPI-M legislator's SMS, and asked the district police chief to make a detailed report of the incident.

"Both the chief minister and the home minister have failed to do their duty in taking quick action. Safety of women is a big issue in the state, and they are silent," CPI-M politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said.

Kurup, meanwhile, is reportedly seeking legal opinion to see if he needs to apply for anticipatory bail.

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