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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 915

President’s son says sorry for remarks on anti-rape protesters

From R. Vasudevan—Reporting from New Delh
New Delhi, 28 December (Asiantribune.com):

President Pranab Mukherjee was embarrassed on Thursday when his son Abhijit stoked a major controversy by describing women participating in Delhi protests against gang-rape of a student as 'highly dented and painted', triggering angry backlash.

"Those who are coming in the name of students in the rallies, sundori, sundori mahila (beautiful women), highly dented and painted," Abhijit Mukherjee, an MP from Jangipur seat which the President had vacated before his election, told a vernacular news channel.

"Giving interviews in TV and showing off their children. I wonder whether they are students at all," he said, adding, "what's basically happening in Delhi is something like pink revolution, which has very little connection with ground realities."

As his "insensitive" remarks sparked outrage with even his sister Sharmistha expressing "utter shock and anguish" and apologizing on his behalf, Abhijit "withdrew" his comments and said they were not meant to hurt "any particular section or any particular sentiment".

"I express my utter shock and anguish. I really apologize to every women, man and every sensitive person in this country ... I am utterly shocked and only thing I can say is that I really apologize on his behalf ... I am quite surprised with what my brother said," Sharmistha said. Asked whether Abhijit should apologize for his words, she said, "I completely agree. He should immediately apologize.

"Not only as a President's son, but as any sensitive man, he should not have made this kind of statement. Forget about being a political leader, it shows a certain degree of insensitivity ... My family is not like that," she said.

On whether her father would be embarrassed with Abhijit's remarks, Sharmistha said, "I am sure he will be. I can say that he also shares my view ... One thing is for sure that he (Pranab) does not agree with his (Abhijit) views. I am sure. He (Pranab) has made a statement and during our personal interactions, he expressed his anguish."

Soon after Abhijit said, "I apologize to all the people whose sentiments who got hurt because of these sentences and these sentences are withdrawn" but the women activists and political leaders were unimpressed.

CPM leader Brinda Karat said political leaders cannot be allowed to get away with a mere apology after making such "outrageous and highly condemnable" remarks "demeaning women" and there should be a code of conduct for elected representatives.

- Asian Tribune -

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