Pune: BJP MLA Ram Kadam’s remark to ‘abduct’ a girl if a she is unwilling to marry a boy who likes her, drew sharp criticism from women activists across the State.
Similarly, a city girl has thrown an open challenge to Kadam to ‘try and touch her’.
He made the statement at a Dahi Handi programme in Mumbai on Monday. Activists shamed his ‘sexist’ statement and have stated that this again highlights the patriarchy mindset of politicians of our society.
“Kadam’s statement is shocking and he must resign. If someone is a public figure, he/she should uphold the constitution, as they take the oath to abide by constitutional rights. Besides, nobody from his party has pulled him up and questioned him for his statement. There is no provision to take action against leaders who make statements that are insensitive or derogatory,” said Kiran Moghe, Secretary of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA).
While activists have also pointed out that even today, the boys are not taught to accept a ‘rejection’ from girls.
“The comment is misogynist because the girl’s consent is still considered irrelevant. The speech is irresponsible and dangerous because, instead of teaching boys to accept ‘no’ gracefully, it encourages them to become aggressive and violent. The present political scenario legitimises such comments since they are being made from a public platform. Young men and women need to come out and say they disagree with such sexist behaviour, especially from an elected representative,” said Manisha Gupte, Founder of Mahila Sarvangeen Utkarsh Mandal (MASUM).
Meanwhile, a video which went viral on social media shows city-based Minakshi Dimble Patil (22) an accountant by profession, who threw an open challenge to Kadam stating that ‘she is from Pune and Kadam can call her to Mumbai or he can come to Pune and meet her. She dared him to ‘touch’ her if possible.’
Speaking to Sakal Times, Patil who is also part of a social media group ‘Hindavi Swaraj Maza’ said that she posted the video with utmost calmness and not in the fit of the moment. “Of course I am angry about the statement he has made and hence, I have challenged him to ‘try and touch me.’ But it wasn’t in the fit of the moment.
Our social media group has planned the video. I am ready to face any kind of consequences. I have called him previously as well when he made several inappropriate comments even when he had got arrested the last time but he never responded to my calls,” said Patil.
The social media group has around 550 members who have come forward and supported Patil’s action. “The statement is outrageous and it is demeaning women and again proves patriarchial thinking of politicians. Our group has men and women and they all condemn his statement. If he contacts us, we will seek a live apology from him for all women in the State,” said Patil.
Sexist comments made by politicians in Maharashtra in the past
- January 2014: Asha Mirje, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and then member of State Women’s Commission, had held girls responsible for rapes and stated that their ‘clothing and behaviour’ played a part. She later apologised and said it was her personal opinion.
- November 2017: Girish Mahajan, Maharashtra State Minister of Water Resource and Medical Education, had made a statement saying ‘Name liquor brand on women to surge the sale’. He had later apologised for the statement and clarified his remark to be a joke and not to hurt anyone’s sentiment.
- July 2016: Actor Salman Khan, compared his physical exhaustion of shooting a film to feel like being ‘raped woman’. Later, he apologised through several tweets.
- January 2018: Girish Bapat, Guardian Minister, while speaking in Pimpri-Chinchwad said that the mistress is creating more problems than the issues between the husband and wife. When the mistress comes to stay in the home, it is obvious that there will be more fights between the couple.