According to the NWMI members, Ravi had instead of giving a straight reply questioned the reporter's integrity. When the reporter Ashwathi asked him about whether the accused in the Suryanelli case should not be prosecuted, the minister pushed away the microphone in the reporter's hands and asked: "Do you have personal animosity towards PJ Kurien (Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman)? Has there been any experience with him in the past?" As if this was not enough, Ravi demanded to know if the reporter has some problems.
Earlier, he had told the newspersons who accosted him at the Alappuzha guest house that he is not willing to make any comment on the recent revelations in
the Suryanelli rape case. Ravi came to the guest house to attend a meeting in which officials looked at how the Local Area Development (LAD) funds had been allocated and spent by different MPs.
Women journalists have protested strongly against the minister's behaviour and stressed that he should not be so insensitive. Citing Ravi's posture and body language yesterday, they noted that if a senior politician reacts rudely to a female reporter then ordinary women cannot even hope for better treatment from him.
The journalists said that President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi and Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will be apprised about the incident.
It is noteworthy that Ravi got into trouble while trying to defend Kurien. The latter is under immense pressure to resign after the lawyer who was convicted in the Suryanelli case revealed that the Congress leader had spent nearly 30 minutes with the victim at the Kumily guest house on Feb 19, 1996.
However, Kurien claims that SS Dharmarajan is lying. Incidentally, the victim had leveled the same charge years ago.