Kerala’s MLA P.C. George.
Kerala’s MLA P.C. George.

Kerala nun rape: MLA P.C. George gets NCW notice over ‘prostitute’ remark

The development comes as George's words raised a national debate on insensitivity towards rape victims by people who wield power

Bengaluru: Kerala’s controversial MLA, P.C. George, who shot to national spotlight on Sunday after calling a rape victim nun as prostitute, may be staring at punitive action by National Commission for Women (NCW). Springing into action based on media reports, the commission served him a notice on Monday to summon before its Delhi office on 20 September and provide an explanation on his remarks.

The development comes as George’s words raised a national debate on insensitivity towards rape victims by people who wield power.

The 46-year old nun is at the centre of a sex scandal running afoul in Kerala’s Catholic Church. Her complaint to police accuses a Jalandhar-based senior priest, Bishop Franco Mullackal, of 13 times sexual abuse between 2014 and 2016. The Bishop has denied the charge.

On Saturday, five colleagues of the nun launched a fasting protest outside Kerala’s high court in Ernakulam district, a first of its kind open protest by nuns against the Church and the state, demanding arrest of the Bishop. Despite filing a rape case on 28 June, the police is yet to make any arrests in the case.

In his response to the protest meet, George questioned the nun’s character in an interaction with the media on Sunday.

“Is there any doubt that the nun is a prostitute? 12 times it was pleasure, 13th time it became a rape? Where was she when it happened 12 times? Whom is she telling this to? Why did she not complain on the first time it happened?... Let the three sisters be examined. Let us see if they are holy," he said, news channel NDTV reported.

The remarks received a major backlash from various sections of the society, especially on social media. “Consensual sex any number of times, but once ‘no’ is said it is R.A.P.E. PC George won’t understand this; it is complicated," wrote writer N.S. Madhavan on Twitter.

The NCW said in a statement that it is deeply concerned by the MLA’s statements. “The commission seriously condemns the such objectionable and derogatory statements made by a person who occupies responsible position in the society," the statement said.

Who is P.C. George?

It is not the first time the 67-year old George has ran into trouble. In the past, he was booked by the police for an anti-Dalit speech, slapping a hotel staff for delayed service, and for pointing pistol at striking tea estate labourers in his constituency. In July, he made news by breaking a toll gate after being made to wait for about three minutes.

These apart, George is best known for his loose cannon tongue attacks as a cantankerous panelist on news channel debates, and as a go-to-man for political parties when in crisis. His electoral records are solid. George, an independent MLA from Poonjar constituency in south Kerala’s Pathanamthitta, has been an MLA ever since his electoral debut in 1980, except for a nine period from 1987 to 1996 when he did not contest.

In 2012, he pulled off a ruse by acting as the master brain behind bringing left MLA S Selvaraj to the polar opposite ruling Congress camp almost overnight. The move was in the background of the Congress government, which took power on a wedge of two seats majority, risked its upper hand in the house as one of its legislators died.

George himself has entered and exited the Communist and the Congress camps, the dual power centers in Kerala, several times in the past. His equations however went sour with both in 2016 election, when national leaders of Congress and the Left such as A.K. Antony to Prakash Karat travelled to Poonjar to request the people not vote for him. However, he won the election, making him the first independent to have elected to Kerala assembly in nearly four decades without the support of the Left or the Congress.