BHUBANESWAR: Deputy leader of the BJP Legislature Party (BJPLP) Bishnu Charan Sethi sparked off a controversy in the Assembly on Thursday when he said “abandoned Muslim women dominated the red light areas of Mumbai and Kolkata”.
The BJP member made the statement while speaking in favour of the Triple Talaq Bill during the zero hour after which the Congress members created a ruckus in the House demanding that such a “derogatory” remark should be expunged from the proceedings. They rushed to the well in protest forcing Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro to adjourn the House several times during the day.
No business could be transacted during the afternoon session also and the First Supplementary Statement of Expenditure For Recoupment of Advance from Odisha Contingency Fund for 2019-20 had to be passed amidst noisy scenes. An all-party meeting convened by the Speaker also failed to resolve the issue.
Sethi had quoted from “survey reports” published in magazines and newspapers to support his claim even as Congress and BJD members demanded that his statement should be expunged. The BJP member, however, remained adamant on his stand. “What is wrong in quoting survey reports in the House? I have not made any adverse remark against any community, but quoted survey reports that say Muslim women dominate the red light areas in Mumbai and Kolkata,” he said.
He was replying to Congress members, who had criticised the Centre for pushing through the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill in Parliament. Stating that some political parties, with an eye on minority votes, were opposing the legislation, he said the opponents of the Triple Talaq Bill should keep it in mind that the legislation was passed in Parliament on humanitarian grounds to protect the interest of women.
The practice of triple talaq was abolished in 38 countries including Pakistan and Bangladesh, the BJP leader said and added, “The Triple Talaq Bill has nothing to do with religion and is aimed at eradicating a social evil. Now, one cannot divorce his wife just by uttering “talaq talaq talaq” in an inebriated state or via a mobile phone message,” he added.
Noisy scenes continued during the afternoon session also as the Congress members insisted on their demand that the remarks should be expunged from the proceedings. Describing the statement as most unfortunate which has exposed “their communal mindset”, leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) Narasingh Mishra demanded that the BJP member should apologise in the House and to community for making such an “ugly statement”.
The Congress leader warned that such statements will foment communal violence and lead to division of the country.
Congress to stage dharna
Bhubaneswar: President of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Niranjan Patnaik on Thursday announced that party leaders will sit on a dharna if BJP MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi does not apologise for his derogatory statement on Muslim women. Condemning such a “tasteless” comment on Muslim women, Patnaik told mediapersons that this has exposed his narrow mindset. Women occupy a very special and honoured place in Indian culture, he said and added that this is not for the first time that a BJP leader has made such a statement against women. “The silence of other senior leaders of BJP when one of them makes such a derogatory statement points at their approach towards women,” he said. Media cell chairperson of the OPCC Satya Prakash Nayak was also present.