Mullappally Ramachandran, the state Congress president in Kerala, Sunday hit headlines for making appalling, misogynist remarks aimed at victims of rape at a protest meeting in Thiruvananthapuram. He tendered his apology soon after.
Speaking as part of an agitation launched state-wide by the Congress-led UDF against alleged corrupt practices of the LDF government, Ramachandran said, “Every day when she wakes up, she claims she was raped. A woman who says she was raped across the state, she’s dressed up and made to stand behind the curtain. She keeps asking when she should come out. Chief Minister, your game will not work here. This blackmail politics will not work here. The people of Kerala can understand it. As you (CM) drown and die, if you thought you can bring a prostitute and make her cook stories, Kerala is tired of hearing it…we can understand if a woman says she was raped once. Any woman with self-respect will either die or prevent being raped again. But, she keeps crying she was raped again and again all over the state. Senior police officers told me that you are planning to play politics by keeping such a woman in front.”
The state Congress chief’s comments were allegedly aimed at a woman involved in the solar scandal who recently accused a Congress leader of rape.
KK Shailaja, state women and child development minister, slammed Ramachandran for his remarks, calling them ‘dangerous’ and ‘inappropriate’ especially coming from a senior politician like him. In June, Shailaja herself was defamed and mocked by the Congress leader who said she was fighting for the label of ‘Covid rani’ and ‘Nipah rajkumari.’
In a statement, Shailaja said Ramachandran’s comments reflected his mindset and opinion about women. “He says if women who are raped have self-respect, they will kill themselves. Is rape a woman’s fault? Are women not committing suicide because they lack self-respect? A woman subject to rape is not a criminal. The people committing the rape are the criminals. They must be punished. Women experience great physical and mental trauma. To say that they must kill themselves speaks of a person with a dangerous mind. This is completely wrong,” she said.
Ramachandran, a former union minister and seven-time MP, expressed regret for his remarks when reporters relayed the sexist tone of his speech.
“If these remarks were characterised as being aimed at anyone in particular, I express my regret. If these remarks were misrepresented as anti-women in certain quarters, it is not right. I said it only to prove the depths to which this (LDF) government has fallen,” he said.
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