Apology demanded from Amar Singh for ’sexist’ remarks

July 9th, 2008 - 8:31 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, July 9 (IANS) Some women groups in the national capital Wednesday demanded a public apology from Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar SIngh for what they called his “sexist” remarks over his meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi. “It is quite shocking that a political leader can make comments in such bad taste about political relationships that involve a prominent woman leader of the country,” a statement issued by six women organisations said.

In a conversation with IANS, Amar Singh had used terms like “suhaag raat” (wedding night) and “balaatkar” (rape) referring to meetings between Gandhi and certain political leaders, including communist leaders.

Justifying his party’s decision to join hands with the Congress after years-long bitter rivalry, Amar Singh said in the interview: “When Prakash Karat goes to meet Sonia Gandhi, it’s called ’suhaag raat’, but when we go to meet Sonia Gandhi, it’s called ‘balaatkaar’.”

Criticising the remarks, Sudha Sundararaman of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA,) said Amar Singh’s remarks were a reflection of the lack of respect for women in public life.

“We can all have our differences with Sonia Gandhi but to term a political meeting as a ’suhaag raat’ or ‘balatkaar’ simply violates all norms of decency,” Sundararaman fumed.

“We are outraged by (Amar) Singh’s slanderous remark… and the fact that he is not denying it in public, means that he owes it. We demand a public apology from him,” Sundararaman told IANS.

In the statement, women’s groups condemned Amar Singh’s remarks and demanded a public apology.

The statement added: “There are many women in high political offices and in the leadership of various parties. Such remarks not only trivialise their role, and insults the concerned individual, but is demeaning to all women.”

“The women’s organisations strongly condemn this remark, which is totally unbefitting of a political leader occupying a responsible position.”

The statement was issued by the AIDWA, National Federation for Indian Women (NFIW), Guild of Service and Centre for Women’s Development Studies.

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