Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi on Friday defended his remarks that a woman and a man entering into sexual relations outside marriage should be punished, drawing sharp criticism from activists.
“Our religion does not allow women to have sexual relations with anyone, except her husband. If a man and a woman decide to have sexual relations with consent, then both of them should be punished,” said Azmi.
Azmi has made these remarks in his reply submitted to the Maharashtra State Commission for Women (MSCW), which had asked him to explain his earlier statement that women who have sex outside their marriage must be punished too.
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Invoking Islam, the MLA, who appeared before the Commission, said a woman in illicit relation should be punished along with the man involved.
Azmi said at times, law is misused by women. “If a woman voluntarily enters into a relationship with a man and later complains against him, it can have disastrous consequences.”
Reacting to Azmi’s reply, MSCW Chairperson Sushiben Shah said it is not right on part of the SP leader to cite religion and deprive women of their rights.
“The Constitution of India, the Supreme Court and Protection Against Domestic Violence Act have given acceptance to live-in relationships and provided protection to women, including Muslim women,” Shah said.
“The law of the land should be applicable to all women irrespective of their religion, caste or creed,” Shah added.
Shah said since Azmi has raised a religious matter, she would examine and act accordingly. “We would like to see that regressive remarks are not made by people sitting on high positions in society.”