RMP leader’s ‘porn speech’ lands UDF in trouble, front begins damage control

After drawing widespread flak, Hariharan expressed regret in a Facebook post last evening.
RMP leader’s ‘porn speech’ lands UDF in trouble, front begins damage control

KOZHIKODE: Sensing trouble after RMP leader K S Hariharan’s sexist remarks against former health minister K K Shailaja and actor Manju Warrier evoked strong criticism from all quarters, the UDF leadership swung into damage-control mode on Sunday.

“Will anyone make a porn video of the teacher (Shailaja)? If it’s of Manju Warrier, one could understand it,” Hariharan had said in the presence of Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan and UDF Vadakara candidate Shafi Parambil on Saturday. He was addressing an anti-communal rally organised by the opposition front.

After drawing widespread flak, Hariharan expressed regret in a Facebook post last evening.

However, the UDF leadership realised by Sunday morning that a mere expression of remorse would not be enough to douse the flames of rage sparked by the remark, and front leaders one by one denounced Hariharan’s statement. Terming the remark as “completely wrong”, Satheesan said the UDF does not endorse it.

Painful to hear such remarks: Rema

“Political leaders should always set an example for others while speaking at public programmes,” he said.

Vadakara MLA and RMP leader K K Rema termed as “inappropriate” her party colleague’s remarks. “Such remarks, even a single word against women, should not come from anyone. This is something we are constantly discussing... but we still see many people continuing to make such sexist remarks against women. It is very painful to hear such remarks in a progressive society,” she said.

Shafi said there was no justification for the RMP leader’s mistake. “Hariharan used a language that should not be used even in a private conversation. The statement was inappropriate. You can express political disagreement with women, but you cannot abuse them personally,” Shafi said at a press meet in Kozhikode.

Meanwhile, the DYFI and the Democratic Women’s Association have filed a complaint with the state police chief against Hariharan.

The derogatory statement made by Hariharan constitutes an offense under Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deals with outraging the modesty of a woman, the DYFI said in its complaint. “By equating a woman, or in this case, a candidate, to an object of voyeuristic pleasure, and suggesting that her worth is determined by the lewdness of her actions, Hariharan has not only demeaned the individual in question but also perpetuated harmful stereotypes that degrade the dignity of women as a whole,” it added.

DYFI state secretary V Vaseef said, “UDF-RMP leader Hariharan’s speech underlines the heinous anti-women campaigns led by UDF in Vadakara throughout the election period. UDF’s election campaign crossed all boundaries of decency and turned the election period into a gathering of communal and anti-women forces in Vadakara. UDF’s Saturday’s rally was indeed an anti-women conference.”

Hariharan’s house attacked

Kozhikode: An explosive device was thrown at K S Hariharan’s house near Calicut University, triggering panic. The police said the preliminary probe indicated that the explosive was similar to firecrackers. Witnesses reported seeing two people on bikes near the spot before the explosion. The exact motive behind the alleged attack is not known.

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